Washington Capitals take series against Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2

Getty Images

This is the fourth playoff meeting between the two in the Ovechkin-Crosby era and prior to 2005, Pittsburgh and Washington met an additional seven times with the Pens coming out on top in six of them.

Particularly for Letang. He missed all of Pittsburgh's run to a second straight Stanley Cup last spring while recovering from neck surgery, though he was able to make his way to the arena for Game 7 of the conference semifinals, when Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 29 shots he faced and the Penguins escaped with a 2-0 victory to finish a series in which both teams scored 20 goals and won on opposing ice at least twice.

Naturally, Blue Jackets fans were not very happy with Monday's proceedings. Yeah, the Capitals have to face their archnemesis, the Penguins, in the next round, and there's no telling what sort of heartbreak that might bring.

The Washington Capitals lost the first two games of their first round playoff series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and everybody immediately started talking about yet another disappointing postseason for Alexander Ovechkin and company. However, this would not last long.

Another turning point in this series came the minute Braden Holtby stepped between the pipes for Washington.

Early in the series, no one was more risky than Blue Jackets LW Artemi Panarin, who put up seven points (2 G, 5 A) in the first three games. Matt Calvert led the team with three goals.

As for the Capitals, this was the other side of the coin. The Penguins won their series, 4-2 and had a regular season record, 47-29.

The Washington Capitals are excited to be advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the puck doesn't pinball around and end up in the back of the net, this series could have had a much different result.

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is still searching for a his first strong playoff performance. He was just plainly better than Grubauer, and Holtby's performance in one round, while not flawless, is going to do a lot to make Capitals fans forget about a mediocre-at-best regular season. The Columbus Blue Jackets were good again, just not good enough to win a playoff series. A rally came in the third though with Artemi Panarin bagging himself three points on the evening.

When Aston-Reese was playing, it'd been nearly three decades since Northeastern had won Boston's renowned annual "Beanpot" four-school tournament.

"It's all about team", Ovechkin said. That led to the switch in goal for Washington, and Holtby's play changed the complexion of the series. Without him, the Blue Jackets became a one-line team. Games 5 and 7, if necessary, will also be played in Washington.

It wasn't just the Blue Jackets' power play that was shut down in the second half of the series - their star players had a lot of trouble producing at 5-on-5 as well.



Other news