Reasons To Believe In The Penguins In Game 7

Pittsburgh Penguins Vs. Washington Capitals Game 6: Start Time, Live Stream, TV Info and More

Without question, this was the worst Penguins effort we've seen in 2016-17.

In all three of Washington's wins, Holtby has outplayed his Pittsburgh counterpart. The Penguins have won each of the previous three.

SUCCESS IN SMASHVILLE: A 3-1 victory in Game 6 Sunday over the St. Louis Blues put the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference final for the first time in their 18-year franchise history.

"I've got to believe that (the momentum from Game 6 is) going to roll over, that they're finally sick and exhausted of hearing that they haven't gone to the third round and will break through", Boudreau said. "The fun part is the obstacle, and the obstacle is a good team in Pittsburgh". And this has nothing to do with the Penguins because the new concussion spotter protocol was supposed to take this decision entirely out of their hands.

The Rangers were in that same scenario in 2015 and it was Washington that blew a 3-1 series lead. The problem wasn't that Holtby was playing poorly, but he wasn't stealing any games for the Caps either. He's won several Presidents' Trophies but he's still looking for a shot at the Cup. He is the Penguins' most valuable piece, and apparently nobody on their bench saw that play and thought that maybe they should pull him off the ice for a few minutes to check him out and see if he was okay. "FLEU-RY!" and might've planted enough of a seed of belief for the Washington Capitals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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And let's make no mistake about it; as scrappy and opportunistic as the Penguins have been, they're also riddled by injuries. The NHL did this because players are obstinate and stubborn and singularly focused on playing the game. That sentence may be true of the first four games of the series, but it was not of the last two. Then, crumble it up and throw it away. Eastern Conference and 19-7 in their last 26 games following a loss of 3 or more goals. The Penguins could turn it on, the HBK line could find their stride, Malkin could be great instead of taking stupid penalties, and Crosby could be MVP and steal another chance from Ovechkin. One or all of Justin Williams, Kevin Shattenkirk and T.J. After winning two games and reaching Game 7 at Verizon Center, however, now there is something to lose.

"We're having fun now", Coach Barry Trotz said.

But there is little doubt which of the three events is the most important on the collective psychic of the Washington sports fan, which has watched the Capitals fail time and again in the postseason in the Alex Ovechkin Era. The Penguins are beat up, they're exhausted (they have played more games in the last 365 days than any other team still playing in the playoffs) and as cliché as it is, it's awfully hard to repeat as Stanley Cup Champs. I said Caps in 7 before the series started which hurts me to my core, but at this point, it seems warranted. Youre not going to win every one. I noticed the empty seats last night at the eight minute mark.

The NHL should know this by now, but it's create an obtuse, confusing system that allows for myriad excuses to keep players on the ice. It's fantastic it's taken this long to bring up this fact, but it's so well-known, so much part of the fabric, that it's just assumed as common knowledge: Alex Ovechkin's Capitals have never advanced past the second round of the playoffs.

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