The Washington Capitals have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first in the Alex Ovechkin era.

After the first 20 minutes went scoreless, Alex Chiasson’s first goal of these playoffs gave the Caps the lead early in the second period. Washington seemed to have control of the game but the Penguins tied things up after a Kris Letang’s shot took a friendly bounce and deflected passed Braden Holtby. The Metropolitan Division rivals went back and forth with quality chances, but the remainder of regulation would end without another goal.

The intensity continued into overtime as Tom Kuhnhackl hit the post – nearly forcing a seventh game for the Pens. That was as close as it came for Pittsburgh though. A failed attempt to enter the Washington zone proved costly for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs. Alex Ovechkin sent Evgeny Kuznetsov on a breakaway leading to the series-clinching goal thus breaking the hearts of Penguins fans everywhere.

This series marked the third straight season that the Caps and Pens have met in the playoffs and fourth time since Crosby and Ovechkin entered the league in 2005-06. Each previous meeting had ended in disappointment for the Capitals who now go on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Washington Capitals last played in the Conference Finals in the 1998 playoffs. They would win the series but eventually went on to lose 4-0 to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals.

(Video courtesy of Sportsnet)

Kuznetsov scores winner; Capitals advance to Conference Finals

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