Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals have made a bad habit of having tremendous regular seasons success, but faltering in the postseason. They can blame a lot of that on the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that trend continued this season. The Penguins made sure of it on Wednesday, as they overcame blowing a 3-1 series lead by shutting out the Caps in Washington D.C. 2-0 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Marc-Andre Fleury had Matt Murray back as his backup and stopped all 29 shots in the Game-7 victory. The President Trophy winners once again out-shot the Penguins, 29-28, as they did in every game of the series, but they could not outscore them. Fleury moved past tough outings in Games 5 and 6 that saw him surrender a combined nine goals. He had allowed nine goals on 142 shots in the first four games of the series. Matt Murray was listed as active for the first time since suffering an injury before the postseason, but the Penguins continued to go with the red-hot veteran in Fleury. Patric Hornqvist and Bryan Rust both scored for Pittsburgh, who will host the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Conference Finals on Saturday.
Ducks Edge Oilers to Snap Game-7 Slump
The Anaheim Ducks had blown 3-2 series leads and lost in Game 7's in four straight seasons, but they snapped that streak on Wednesday night with a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Nick Ritchie scored the game-winner just 3:21 in to the third after Andrew Cogliano tied the game in the second period, and the Ducks avoided another heartbreaking end to their season. All four of their Game 7 losses were on their home ice, as was Wednesday's game after they again blew a 3-2 series lead against the young Oilers. Drake Caggiula netted an unassisted goal just 3:31 in to the game to give Edmonton a quick start. Cam Talbot had 28 saves, but it was not enough to continue the Oilers' first postseason run since 2006. Ryan Getzlaf had a point on his 32nd birthday for Anaheim, who held Connor McDavid without a point. The young star had just five points in the series, which was his first taste of playoff hockey. Anaheim will host the Nashville Predators on Friday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
Celtics Use Quick Start to Rout Wizards in Game 5
The Boston Celtics wasted little time to jump ahead of the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night in Game 5, en route to a 123-101 win for a 3-2 series lead. Avery Bradley took over with a playoff career-high 29 points, sparking a 16-0 first-quarter run that gave Boston the upper-hand early on. Al Horford added 19 points, seven assists, and six rebounds, while Isaiah Thomas changed his game to score just 18 points, but recorded nine assists in the win. Thomas is use to being the main scorer, but mentioned after the game that he is okay changing his role game-to-game to benefit the team, which is what he did on Wednesday. John Wall had 21 points to lead the Wizards, whose playoff woes in Boston continued. Washington has not won a playoff game in "Beantown" since 1982. The Celtics' early run was the fourth time this series that a team had a run of at least 16-0. The Wizards had the other three, with a 16-0 run in Game 1, 22-0 in Game 3, and 26-0 in Game 4. Washington is now in a must-win situation heading in to Game 6 on their home floor on Friday night, as they look to force Game 7, which would be back in Boston on Monday night. The winner of the series has the defending champs, Cleveland Cavaliers, lying in wait in the Eastern Conference Finals.