The Washington Capitals head into Monday night’s Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins looking to end the Pens’ success in elimination games.
Washington leads the series 3-2 and can advance to the Eastern Conference final with a win, but the Penguins have had a knack for winning elimination games under coach Mike Sullivan.
The Capitals are 1-9 all time in postseason series against the Pens, who have served as a difficult hurdle for the Caps to clear in recent years.
“It’s not over yet,” Capitals winger Brett Connolly said. “They’re a good team. We know that. (Game 5) obviously a big win. We just need to find a way this year. We need to find a way to get that last win no matter what it takes.”
“I can tell you how I feel if there’s four wins,” Washington goaltender Braden Holtby said. “Where it’s at right now doesn’t matter at all. All that matters is the next game. That’s got to be our mindset if we want to have success and take a mature approach to it.”
“We’ve done it before,” Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin said.
“We know we’ve got it in this group. We’re going back home. We’ve been good at home all year. We win one game there, come back (to Washington) and play a Game 7. That’s nothing new to us, nothing we’re afraid of. We’ve just got to bring our best effort again in Game 6.”
“It comes down to character and the people we have in our dressing room,” he said.
“Everybody understands the situation,” Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. “It brings out everyone’s best. You don’t have anything to save it for, so you go out there with one focus, and that’s win a hockey game and get to a Game 7. That’s our mindset here.
“We have a lot of good things to build off. We just need to make sure we keep going, keep playing the same way.”
It should be a fun game on Monday night, but if the Caps can’t pull off the victory, is the series over before the puck drops for Game 7?