The Washington Capitals have become famous for falling early on in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they overcame that hump in this year's postseason. That was completed on Monday night, as they doubled-up the Columbus Blue Jackets, 6-3, in Game 6 to advance to the second round in the Eastern Conference. After falling behind, 2-0, on a couple overtime losses at home, the Capitals won four in a row, three of which came on the road, to rally from the deficit. Alex Ovechkin scored twice on Monday, including his 50th career playoff goal, which supported Braden Holtby, who had 35 saves between the pipes. Both of Ovechkin's goals came in the second period, but the Capitals pulled away in the final 20 minutes. Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist, while Dimitry Orlov, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Lars Eller all scored in the win for the Capitals. Another ingredient to the Capitals' success was shutting down the Blue Jackets power play, which after going 4-for-8 in the first two games, was 0-for-16 in the final four of the series. Washington took over the scoring opportunities to complete the rally, which matches them up with the Pittsburgh Penguins for a third consecutive postseason.
Maple Leafs Force Game 7 With Bruins
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been many hockey experts' pick to win it all this season, and for a while, that wasn't looking good in the first round. Now, the Leafs have rallied, officially forcing a Game 7 on Monday night with a 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins. Frederik Andersen made 32 saves on the night, which ended an emotional day in Toronto. This big win came just hours after 10 people were killed by a vehicle that ran in to a group of pedestrians in downtown Toronto. Mitch Marner had the official tie-breaking goal along with an assist, while William Nylander and Thomas Plekanec also scored for the Leafs in the win. They did fall behind, 1-0, early on, but rallied, as Nikita Zatisev also contributed with two assists, while Pelkanec had one of his own. Jake DeBrusk scored the lone goal for the Bruins, while Tuukka Rask had 27 saves after being pulled in a Game-5 rout. The Bruins jumped ahead 2-0, and then 3-1 in the series, and with home-ice advantage, they seemed to have all the momentum on their side. Now, the Leafs have won back-to-back games and forced the first Game 7 of this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs, which will take place in the TD Garden on Wednesday night.
Jazz, Rockets Go Up 3-1 in First Round
The Utah Jazz's season has been absolutely remarkable after their struggling start, and now they are just one win away from advancing to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. They got there on Monday night behind Donovan Mitchell's 33 points in a 113-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 for a 3-1 series lead. For the second straight game, the Jazz used a dominant second quarter, more specifically a 20-3 run, to pull away and roll against OKC. Joe Ingles added 20 points, including five three-pointers, while Rudy Gobert had a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds and Ricky Rubio had 13 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. Paul George went off for 36 points in the loss for the Thunder. Utah will head to Oklahoma City with hopes of advancing in Game 5 of the series on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets used a dominant third quarter to pull away on the road for a 119-100 win and a 3-1 series lead on the Minnesota Timberwolves. James Harden had 36 points, including 22 of them in Houston's 50-point third quarter. The Rockets held the T'Wolves to 20 points in the third, outscoring them by 30 to stun the crowd at the Target Center. Chris Paul had 15 of his 25 points in that third quarter, which fell short of the Los Angeles Lakers' 51-point quarter in 1962 against the Detroit Pistons for the largest-scoring quarter in playoff history. Clint Capela had a double-double of 14 points and 17 rebounds to also contribute for the Rockets, They will look to close out the series on their home floor in Game 5 on Wednesday night.