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Trilogy, Anyone? Penguins-Capitals To Meet Again

If you’re superstitious, there are a couple of ways to look at the upcoming second-round Stanley Cup playoff series.



Patric Hornqvist Matt Niskanen Quarrel: Photo by Janine Leech/IconSportswire

If you’re superstitious, there are at least a couple ways to look at the upcoming second-round Stanley Cup playoff series between the Penguins and Capitals.

On one hand, the Penguins have never won a championship without going through Washington first. That trend, of course, includes the past two seasons, which saw Pittsburgh raise the fourth and fifth Cups in franchise history.

On the other hand, with the Penguins having claimed nine of the previous 10 playoff matchups against the Capitals, isn’t it just a matter of time before it swings the other way?

Just the Facts, Ma’am:

• Washington clinched its fourth consecutive trip to the second round with a 6-3 victory Monday night in Columbus, Ohio. The Capitals rallied to win four straight games after losing the first two at home to the Blue Jackets, both in overtime.

• The Penguins and Capitals have played four times in the careers of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, both of whom are in their 13th seasons. The Penguins won in seven games in 2009 and 2017 and in six games in 2016.

• The Capitals’ lone series win in the history of this rivalry occurred in 1994, marking the third time in four years the former Patrick Division rivals faced off in the spring. Now, with the divisional format returning to the playoffs, we’re seeing a rekindling of the feud.

• With Ovechkin leading the way, Washington has won its first-round series eight times in 11 tries, but the team has never advanced to the Eastern Conference final in the ‘Rock the Red’ era. The closest the Capitals have gotten? Try 2015, when they lose a Game 7 overtime to the Rangers.

• In the regular season, the teams split four games down the middle, with each team winning once in the other’s home arena. This series will start at Capital One Arena in Washington later this week, likely either Thursday or Saturday.

Keep it right here on Pittsburgh Hockey Now for coverage throughout what’s sure to be another springtime epic between the Pens and Caps!

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A lifelong hockey addict, Matt has been fortunate enough to make his career in his sport of choice, working in high school, juniors, college and the pros in various multimedia roles. Previous to joining PHN, Matt was a credentialed Penguins/NHL beat reporter from 2016-18, including coverage of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. He contributes commentary and analysis here in various forms.

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4 years ago

Forget Christmas, the 4th of July, the Super Bowl – THIS is what I wait for all year long:

– Ovi on the bench with ‘that look’ on his face when he realizes it’s over;
– 18,000 voices Capital One Arena united in utter silence;
– Tom Wilson watching the Pens score again from his comfy seat in the penalty box;
– Barry Trotz wondering ‘has the game gotten faster?’
– Doc Emerick reciting, like clockwork in early May, “and the PENguins will play on…”

Yes. All year. Go Pens!

4 years ago

From my view point as a fan, I would have liked to see CBJ because of matchups. Like the Philly series, the Pens clearly had the better matchups. Not so vs the Caps. Playoff hockey can be brutal. The penalties will probably be called less frequent in the 2nd round. Oshie and Wilson have the mean streak to take any hit vs the Pens to take one out. Think of hit on 62 recently. 77 and 43 are bigger than Giroux. Hopefully 62 is recovering well. A shoulder to jaw and jaw loses every time. I know I was in… Read more »

4 years ago
Reply to  Ricardo58

Let them try. Again. The Caps have outsized our Pens and attempted to outmuscle them for two years running and it hasn’t worked yet. Certainly, the potential of injury is always there. You mention 77 and 43. I’ll go further: 19, 83, 8, and former Pens 2 and 44 – they all have a taste for the cheap shot, the dangerous play. It is in their organizational character: they couldn’t play without all the extracurricular stuff any more than they could play without sticks. Sooner or later, they’ll resort to it. Let them. Our Pens certainly seem to have the… Read more »

4 years ago

Good word, Gajtka! In other news…we have Simon to replace Malkin (or Hags) after giving away Ryan Reaves this year – what Lunacy – from here on in we desperately need Reaves – and a coach that will play him and knows when and where and how to use him!

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