Blue Jackets Good Again, Just Not Good Enough For Next Level

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The Washington Capitals wrapped up the series in Game 6 on Monday night. The Caps stormed back to win four straight, inspired in part to a guarantee from the captain Alex Ovechkin.

Minutes later, Devante Smith-Pelly would restore the Washington two-goal lead making the game 4-2.

The Penguins are the Bizarro Capitals - a team without a Presidents' Trophy, but three Crosby-era Stanley Cups instead. It wasn't a awful performance - Bobrovsky allowed three goals on 32 shots - but he proceeded to allow nine goals on the 56 shots he faced through Games 5 and 6, and that was all she wrote for the Blue Jackets. The only time the Capitals have triumphed over their division rivals was in 1994 when the Caps won a first-round series in six games.

This series was pretty evenly matched in terms of output at 5-on-5, with Columbus holding a slight edge in shot attempts (50.77 percent), goals (13-12), and scoring chances (151-147). Sergei Bobrovsky did his playoff narrative no favors this postseason and he can't blame the Penguins. Reason being is that despite being a two-time Vezina Trophy-winning netminder, despite having a.922 save percentage - the second-best mark - of the 80 netminders to suit up in 100-plus games since the lockout-shortened season, Bobrovsky has had trouble getting the job done in the playoffs.

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I'm not backing away from that prediction. He started goaltender Philipp Grubauer, the hot hand, over stud Braden Holtby, who wasn't great at all down the stretch.

Pittsburgh won both of those series on its way to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, but that hasn't deterred Ovechkin from wanting another shot against his biggest rival. If Holtby is back on top of his game as one of the world's elite, he will be the key for Washington to exorcise their demons. Operative phrase: Six games. Ovechkin and Crosby. Evgeni Malkin and Nicklas Backstrom. You can't replace him.

Thornton, who suffered the injury in a January 23 games against Winnipeg, posted 36 points in 47 regular-season games and has 123 points in 160 National Hockey League playoff contests. The Blue Jackets even managed to avoid the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. It would be impossible to be as effective prior to the injury. Plekanec, who had two points in 17 regular-season games with Toronto, has four points (2 G, 2 A) in the series, while Marner has a team-leading eight points (2 G, 6 A) in six games... Malkin and forward Carl Hagelin both missed practice on Tuesday. A Saturday start would be beneficial to the Penguins.

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