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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps win 4th straight to beat Blue Jackets, advance to face the Penguins

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps win 4th straight to beat Blue Jackets, advance to face the Penguins

COLUMBUS—Alex Ovechkin scored two goals in the second period, and the Caps eliminated the Blue Jackets with a 6-3 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Monday night.

Washington, which closed out the series with four straight victories, will now face Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh in the semifinals for the third straight spring and the fourth time since 2009.  

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

The Caps’ captain scored the 50th and 51st playoff goals of his career in the middle frame to put the visitors in command, 3-1. His first goal came on a rebound at the top of the blue paint.

The second came in a much more familiar fashion: on the power play from the Ovi Office.

2-Devante Smith-Pelly, Capitals

DSP was signed, in part, due to his reputation of coming up big in the playoffs. And he did it again in the third period, scoring an unassisted goal with a rip over Sergei Bobrovsky’s glove to put the Caps ahead 4-2…a couple of shifts after Pierre-Luc Dubois had trimmed Washington’s lead to 3-2.

The tally was Smith-Pelly’s second this postseason.

3-Dmitry Orlov, Capitals

Orlov scored a goal scorer’s goal in the first period. At the point, the Dman dragged the puck around a hard-charging Artemi Panarin before rifling a slap shot past Bobrovsky, who also happens to be Orlov’s best friend off the ice.

The goal was the first ever playoff tally for Orlov.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Tarik's 3 Stars: Nick Backstrom the OT hero in series-changing Game 5 win

Tarik's 3 Stars: Nick Backstrom the OT hero in series-changing Game 5 win

Nicklas Backstrom tipped in a Dmitry Orlov shot in overtime, and the Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-3 in Game 5 to take a three-games-to-two series lead in their 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series.

Washington can now punch their ticket to the second round Monday night in Columbus.

Backstrom's game-winner was his fourth playoff overtime goal, which is the most in franchise history. In fact, only Joe Sakic (8), Rocket Richard (6), Glenn Anderson (5) and Patrick Kane (5) have more. 

Tarik El-Bashir's 3 Stars of Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Game 5

1. Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals

Backstrom delivered the Caps’ biggest goal of the season 11:53 into the extra session by knocking a point shot by Orlov down and past Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 25 saves was easily the Blue Jackets’ best player in overtime.

The game-winner was Backstrom’s second goal of the afternoon. No. 19 also recorded an assist.

2. Matt Calvert, Blue Jackets

The third line winger scored nine goals in the regular season. After popping a couple in Game 5, he’s now got three in this series.

And Saturday’s was a doozy. After T.J. Oshie mishandled the puck at the blue line, Calvert was off to the races. He whiffed on his wrist shot but still managed to get the puck (and himself) into the net to even things, 2-2, early in the second period.

3. Braden Holtby, Capitals

Although Holtby might want to get a second look at Calvert's shorthanded goal in the first period, the Caps' netminder turned in another stellar performance overall, stopping 39 shots. He was at his best in the third period, when he was, at times, left to fend for himself. In the final frame, he thwarted 15 of 16 shots and almost singlehandedly made sure the game got to OT. Holtby's best sequence came with the score tied 3-3 near the midpoint of the third period. First, he kicked out his pad to stop Cam Atkinson, then he made a splendid glove save on the rebound, frustrating a hard-charging Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

RELATED: HOW THE CAPS WON GAME 5

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Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs

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Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs

Andre Burakovsky will be sidelined for the remainder of Washington's first-round series vs. Columbus, but he isn’t necessarily out for the remainder of the playoffs, Coach Barry Trotz said on Friday.

Burakovsky suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury in the Capitals' Game 2 overtime loss and has not been on the ice since.

Trotz said the 23-year-old top-six winger needs “minor” surgery.

That procedure, however, will not preclude Burakovsky from returning to the Caps’ lineup in subsequent rounds, should Washington advance.

“That's why I said minor surgery,” Trotz added, asked if Burky might return at a later date.

This latest surgery is the second for Burakovsky this season. In late October, he had a procedure to repair a broken left thumb and missed the next 20 games.

Since his departure in Game 2, Jakub Vrana and Chandler Stephenson have taken turns replacing Burakovsky on the second line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.

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