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Capitals vs. Penguins Game 1 NHL Playoffs 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Penguins Game 1 NHL Playoffs 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Game 1 of the Capitals vs. Penguins 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff series is finally here.

The 2018 NHL Playoffs roll on and the two Metro division rivals will meet in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the third consecutive season.

Game 1 between the Capitals and Penguins will take place on Thursday, April 26 at Capital One Arena. The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The the dates and times for the remainder of the Capitals-Penguins series have yet to be released, but should happen shortly.

When the Penguins do take the ice in Game 1 of against the Capitals, they will be without Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin. Both players were ruled out of action on Tuesday afternoon. Malkin will travel to Washington, D.C. and might be available for Game 2. Hagelin is not traveling with the team.

You can stream Game 1 between the Capitals and Penguins on NBC Sports Washington using the NBC Sports App. Caps FaceOff starts our broadcast coverage at 6:00 p.m., with Caps GameTime at 6:30.

Following the end of Game 1 between the Capitals and Penguins, tune in to NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra at 9:30 p.m. ET and Caps OverTime at 10:00 p.m. Times subject to change. 

What: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 1. 2018 NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC.

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Game 1 of the Capitals vs. Penguins 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Thursday, April 26, 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.


The TV broadcast of Game 1 between the Capitals and Penguins is on NBC Sports Network. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Penguins Game 1 on NBC Sports Network
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Game 1 between the Capitals and Penguins is available to stream online on Thursday, April 26 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.


Capitals projected Lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Nathan Walker, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

Penguins projected Lines:

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Dominik Simon - Riley Sheahan - Phil Kessel
Conor Sheary - Derick Brassard - Bryan Rust
Zach Aston-Reese - Carter Rowney - Tomas Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
Olli Maatta - Justin Schultz
Jamie Oleksiak - Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray starts with Casey DeSmith as backup.

Scratches: Carl Hagelin (upper body), Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Matt Hunwick


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

Ultimate Capitals vs. Penguins Preview
Game 6 showed the Evolution of Ovechkin

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: The ultimate Capitals-Penguins preview

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: The ultimate Capitals-Penguins preview

Here we go again. For the third consectuve year, the Capitals will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Caps lost each of the last two series and in fact have lost nine out of the ten postseason meetings between these two teams. Will this year be different? How can the Caps defeat the two-time defending Cup champions?

Round 2: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins


Game 1: Penguins at Capitals. Thursday, 4/26 at 7:00 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBCSN)
Game 2: Penguins at Capitals. Sunday, 4/29 at 3 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBC)
Game 3: Capitals at Penguins. Tuesday, 5/1 at 7:30 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBCSN)
Game 4: Capitals at Penguins. Thursday, 5/3 at 7 p.m. ET. (Broadcast on NBCSN)
Game 5 (If Necessary): Penguins at Capitals. Saturday, 5/5 (Channel TBD)
Game 6 (If Necessary): Capitals at Penguins. Monday, 5/7 (Channel TBD)
Game 7 (If Necessary): Penguins at Capitals. Wednesday, 5/9 (Channel TBD)

View full detailed schedule here.

Team stats


  • 49-26-7, 105 points, first in the Metropolitan Division
  • 3.12 goals per game (9th)
  • 2.90 goals against per game (16th)
  • 22.5-percent power play percentage (7th)
  • 80.3 penalty kill percentage (15th)


  • 47-29-6, 100 points, second in the Metropolitan Division
  • 3.29 goals per game (3rd)
  • 3.02 goals against per game (20th)
  • 26.2 power play percentage (1st)
  • 80.0 penalty kill percentage (17th)

Top Performers



Regular season
  1. Alex Ovechkin – 49
  2. Evgeny Kuznetsov – 27
  3. Nicklas Backstrom – 21
  1. Alex Ovechkin - 5
  2. Evgeny Kuznetsov - 4
  3. T.J. Oshie - 3


Regular season
  1. Evgeny Kuznetsov – 56
  2. John Carlson – 53
  3. Nicklas Backstrom – 50
  1. John Carlson - 8
  2. Nicklas Backstrom - 6
  3. Evgeny Kuznetsov - 4


Regular season
  1. Alex Ovechkin – 87
  2. Evgeny Kuznetsov – 83
  3. Nicklas Backstrom – 71
  1. John Carlson - 9
  2. Nicklas Backstrom - 8
  3. Evgeny Kuznetsov - 8
  4. Alex Ovechkin -8



Regular season
  1. Evgeni Malkin - 42
  2. Phil Kessel - 34
  3. Sidney Crosby - 29
  1. Jake Guentzel - 6
  2. Sidney Crosby - 6
  3. Bryan Rust - 3
  4. Evgeni Malkin - 3


Regular season
  1. Sidney Crosby - 60
  2. Phil Kessel - 58
  3. Evgeni Malkin - 56
  1. Jake Guentzel - 7
  2. Sidney Crosby - 7
  3. Kris Letang - 6


Regular season
  1. Evgeni Malkin - 98
  2. Phil Kessel - 92
  3. Sidney Crosby - 89
  1. Jake Guentzel - 13
  2. Sidney Crosby - 13
  3. Kris Letang - 7



Regular season

Braden Holtby: 54 GP, 34-16-4 record, .907 save percentage, 2.99 GAA, 0 shutouts
Philipp Grubauer: 35 GP, 15-10-3 record, .923 save percentage, 2.35 GAA, 3 shutouts


Braden Holtby: 5 GP, 4-1 record, .932 save percentage, 1.92 GAA, 0 shutouts
Philipp Grubauer: 2 GP, 0-1 record, .837 save percentage, 4.55 GAA, 0 shutouts


Regular season

Matt Murray: 49 GP, 27-16-3 record, .906 save percentage, 2.92 GAA, 1 shutout
Tristan Jarry: 26 GP, 14-6-2 record, .908 save percentage, 2.77 GAA, 2 shutouts
Casey DeSmith: 14 GP, 11-6-4 record, .921 save percentage, 2.40 GAA, 1 shutout


Matt Murray : 6 GP, 4-2 record, .911 save percentage, 2.20 GAA, 2 shutouts

Head-to-head record

Series split 2-2-0

Oct. 11: 3-2 Penguins win

Christian Djoos tallied a goal and a primary assist in his NHL debut, but it wasn't enough as the Caps yielded three power play goals to Pittsburgh.

Nov. 10: 4-1 Capitals win

The Caps took advantage of their six power play opportunities with two power play goals. T.J. Oshie fittingly scored the game-winner on a power play he drew from Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. Letang cross-checked Oshie so much, he was actually called for two cross-checking penalties on the same shift.

Feb. 2: 7-4 Penguins win

This game marked the beginning of Braden Holtby's lengthy mid-season slump. Washington battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game at 3-3 and again at 4-4, but they could not match Pittsburgh's four-goal third period.

April 1: 3-1 Capitals win

The Capitals clinched their third straight Metropolitan Division championship in Alex Ovechkin's 1,000th career game. It was a mistake-filled game as Washington gave Pittsburgh five power plays, but Philipp Grubauer was brilliant in net with 36 saves in the win. This game may well have been the deciding factor in Grubauer winning the starting job heading into the playoffs.

3 keys of the series for Washington

1. Discipline: In the two games the Caps beat Pittsburgh this season, the Capitals did not give up a power play goal. No team had a better power play in the regular season than the Penguins and we already saw how dumb penalties cost the Caps in the first round. Washington took 24 penalties in six games against the Blue Jackets and that is far too many. They cannot win that way against the Penguins.

The problem is that in the second round with a heated rival, tempers can flare a bit. Just look at the last time these two teams played when Malkin was shooting Oshie's stick off the ice and tried to fight Kuznetsov for speaking Russian to him. Still, the Caps are going to have to keep their emotions in check.

2. Getting the goaltending advantage: The scoring depth of Pittsburgh is unmatched. The fact that a team can have Crosby, Malkin and Kessel all on the same team in the salary cap era is mind-boggling. Oh, and by the way, Jake Guentzel scores every time he touches the puck in the playoffs. Washington cannot win this series if they do not get better goaltending than Pittsburgh.

The good news is that Murray was not lights out in the first round. Yes, he had two shutouts, but there were also three games in which he let in at least four goals. A .911 save percentage is not where the Penguins really need him to be. The bad news is that while Holtby is statistically one of the best playoff netminders in NHL history, he struggles against Pittsburgh. In last year's series, Holtby managed only a .887 save percentage and 2.57 GAA.

One thing to keep in mind, on April 1 Grubauer started a critical game in Pittsburgh and was phenomenal. Could Trotz possibly think of going back to Grubauer if Holtby struggles against the Penguins?

3. Head games: Let's face it, there is a mental aspect to the Capitals' postseason struggles. When it comes to beating Pittsburgh or getting past the second round, this has become a mental hurdle. They have to come into this series with confidence they can win and maintain that confidence throughout, regardless of whether they get down in a game or in the series, regardless of whether there is a bad penalty call, regardless of whether Murray stands on his head again, regardless of any of the struggles they may face, they have to stay mentally confident.

When the Caps went down 0-2 against Columbus, Ovechkin said that the series would return to Washington tied at 2. The way he said it, it wasn't a guarantee or some massive proclamation, it was a statement of fact. Both he and the rest of the team believed they were going to come back and win the series. They need that level of confidence against Pittsburgh as well.

What are people saying about this series?

From ESPN: “The Capitals fought through an early goalie controversy to shake the pesky Columbus Blue Jackets in six games in Round 1. Washington will need to perform much better at home to have a chance of knocking off the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Sidney Crosby's crew had a seesaw first-round series of their own against another Metropolitan Division rival, the Philadelphia Flyers. Although nearly every game of that series was a blowout, the Penguins outlasted the depleted Flyers in six games -- leaving us wondering if Pittsburgh has enough gas left itself. After all, there's a reason no team has three-peated in more than three decades.”

From Sportsnet: “Holtby’s .907 save percentage this season was by far the worst of his NHL career and in January and February his save rate dropped below .900. This led to more starts for Grubauer, but since wrestling the job back from him against Columbus, Holtby’s playoff save percentage is a very respectable .932 — the second-best mark of all advancing Eastern Conference goalies, behind only Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. If Holtby is back on top of his game as one of the world’s elite, he will be the key for Washington to exorcise their demons."

From the Pittsburgh Penguins: “See you soon, Capitals.”

Expert picks

Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals Insider: Capitals in 7
JJ Regan, Capitals Correspondent: Penguins in 7 (prove me wrong, Caps!)
Joe Beninati, Capitals play-by-play announcer: Capitals in 6
Craig Laughlin, Capitals color commentator: Capitals in 6
Al Koken, Capitals on-ice reporter: Capitals in 6
Alan May, Capitals analyst: Capitals in 6
Rob Carlin, host of Capitals GameTIme and Capitals Extra: Capitals in 7
Ryan Billie, Capitals producer: Capitals in 7
Grant Paulsen, host of Capitals FaceOff and Capitals Overtime: Capitals in 7
Courtney Laughlin, Capitals FaceOff and Capitals Overtime panelist: Capitals in 6

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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.


But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.