NHL Playoffs: Capitals stave off elimination, beat Pens in Game 5

NHL Playoffs: Capitals stave off elimination, beat Pens in Game 5

WASHINGTON -- Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin scored 27 seconds apart in the third period as the Washington Capitals avoided elimination by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 in Game 5 on Saturday night.

Nicklas Backstrom tied the score early in the third as the Capitals finally solved Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who allowed four goals on 32 shots. Washington's comeback spoiled the return of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby after a one-game absence due to a concussion.

Crosby had an assist and Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel also scored for the Penguins, who lead the second-round series 3-2 with Game 6 back in Pittsburgh on Monday night.

While Fleury struggled for the first time against the Capitals, Vezina Trophy finalist Braden Holtby had his best game of the series, stopping 20 shots. Andre Burakovsky also scored for Washington.

Even though players were loose at the morning skate facing elimination, the nerves were palpable inside the arena even before puck drop. When an early Capitals power play went nowhere and Hagelin made it 1-0 Pittsburgh 10:24 in, it got quiet fast -- except for Penguins fans' derisive chants of "HOLT-BY, HOLT-BY."

Burakovsky pumped some energy back in with a psychologically important goal with 29.7 seconds remaining in the first period, his first of the playoffs. He earned a promotion to the top line because of his strong play in the series but scored back with the third line on a toe drag that bought him space and a shot that froze Fleury.

Hours after defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk bemoaned that ill-timed penalties were hurting the Capitals, a holding call on Nate Schmidt paved the way for another momentum shift as Kessel scored on the power play 4:20 into the second. The Penguins went into the second intermission with a lead having won 37 of 39 games in that spot during the regular season and all six in the playoffs.

It took an individual effort from Backstrom to begin Washington's stunning turnaround. The Capitals' top-line center carried the puck up the ice, executed a give-and-go with Burakovsky and beat Fleury for the tying goal at 2:49 of the third (see full recap).

Turris' OT goal gives Senators 3-2 series lead over Rangers
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Kyle Turris scored 6:28 into overtime to lift the Ottawa Senators to 5-4 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday for a 3-2 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Derick Brassard tied the score with 1:26 left in the third period for the Senators. Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and Tom Pyatt also scored and Craig Anderson stopped 29 shots. It was Ottawa's fifth overtime win of the postseason, including a double-overtime victory here against the Rangers in Game 2.

Jesper Fast, Nick Holden, Ryan McDonagh and Jimmy Vesey scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 32 saves.

Michael Grabner appeared to win it for the Rangers less than 5 minutes into overtime, but it was disallowed because his redirection came on a high-stick.

Turris then knocked in the rebound of his own shot through Lundqvist's five-hole to put the Senators one win away from returning to the conference finals for the first time since 2007.

Game 6 is Tuesday night in New York.

Ottawa trailed 2-0 less than 5 1/2 minutes into the game, before scoring three times to take the lead midway through the second period. McDonagh tied it for the Rangers late in the second and Vesey gave them the lead with 7:12 remaining in the third.

With Anderson pulled for an extra skater, Brassard tied it with the puck deflecting in off the back of Rangers defenseman Brandon Smith's right skate (see full recap).

Flyers 6, Rangers 4 (preseason): Youngsters continue push for jobs

Flyers 6, Rangers 4 (preseason): Youngsters continue push for jobs


NEW YORK — One night after scoring a 5-1 win over the Islanders, the Flyers matched that and scored one more Wednesday to beat the Rangers, 6-4, at Madison Square Garden.

Are rookies pushing veterans out of a job and will an 18-year-old leave Philadelphia with a contract? Observations from the win:

1. Oskar Lindblom may have solidified his spot on the team after a dominating opening period with three points (two goals, assist) and a plus-3 rating. His first goal was a thing of beauty as his initial one-timer was denied by Henrik Lundqvist, but he kept with it and backhanded the rebounded into the net. Lindblom's confidence is light years from where it was this time last season.

2. I’m not sure you’ll see too much of it during the regular season, but it was enjoyable watching Mikhail Vorobyev and Claude Giroux together. In the first period, you could sense the chemistry in how they see the game that most players don’t. On a couple of occasions, they were able to cycle the puck in the Rangers' zone. Vorobyev has a real shot of making this team, but he needs to play with like-minded players, like Lindblom. The line of Lindblom, Corban Knight and Scott Laughton had nine points and was a plus-9 … in the first period.

3. One area of concern regarding Vorobyev has been his carelessness with his stick. Including the prospects game, Vorobyev has now been called for four stick infractions. I don’t think Vorobyev has that reputation, but sometimes it’s the result of adjusting to the way the game is now called at the NHL level. 

4. No doubt about it Dale Weise is fighting for a job. Despite scoring on the power play, Weise coughed up the puck in the first period that led to Matt Beleskey’s goal and then had an even more glaring turnover as he held onto the puck way too long.   

5. The Flyers took advantage of Lundqvist, who had a lot of rust in his first game action. The Flyers' first two goals are ones Lundqvist handles rather easily, and Weise’s power-play goal is one he typically stops. The five goals the Flyers scored on Lundqvist is the most he’s allowed at MSG since the Flyers scored seven on Feb. 18, 2018.

6. Carter Hart replaced Brian Elliott after the first 20 minutes. Dave Hakstol didn’t address his goaltending plan during the morning skate so it will be interesting to see if that was his plan or if he made the decision after watching the first 20 minutes. At no point did Elliott appear bothered by his previous injuries. Hart did his best work on the penalty kill as he was under heavy fire. He surrendered one 5-on-3 goal that was a flukey one for the Rangers.    

7. Yegor Zamula, the youngest player in training camp at 18 years old, had his first major gaffe when he whiffed on a backhand clearing attempt that led to Ryan Spooner’s goal. In camp on a tryout, Zamula has continued to get better and certainly hasn’t looked out of place. At 6-foot-3, 160 pounds, he’s extremely lean and GM Ron Hextall will have an interesting decision whether to extend him a contract.

More on the Flyers

Flyers-Rangers preseason game No. 4: Roster, highlights, live stream and more

Flyers-Rangers preseason game No. 4: Roster, highlights, live stream and more

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers will be at the preseason midpoint after Wednesday night.

First, they'll visit the world's most famous arena for their fourth exhibition game in four days when they play the Rangers.

A few notables ahead of puck drop:

• After a night off, roster hopefuls Philippe Myers, Mikhail Vorobyev and Nicolas Aube-Kubel are back at it and in favorable spots. 

Vorobyev, eyeing a bottom-six job, has the pleasure of centering Claude Giroux on the first line — not a bad supporting cast for an audition.

Myers is a part of the top D pair alongside Robert Hagg, while Aube-Kubel will be on the wing of NHLer Jordan Weal.

All good opportunities before an upcoming round of cuts Thursday.

• Brian Elliott will make his preseason debut and start in net. It'll be interesting to see how sharp he looks after not being 100 percent at the end of 2017-18 following core muscle surgery and a summer focused on recovery (see story). Carter Hart, who stopped all 11 shots he faced Monday, is tonight's second goalie.

• Scott Laughton is playing on the wing again. Head coach Dave Hakstol said last Saturday they want to get Laughton a game at center, so that should still come over the final four exhibition contests. However, the Flyers may like him more at wing right now.

• First-line center Sean Couturier (knee) did not practice Wednesday back at Flyers Skate Zone with the group not playing against the Rangers. Not skating was a part of the schedule for Couturier.

• Carsen Twarynski is an underrated winger playing well. He scored a goal and had a plus-2 rating in Tuesday night's 5-1 win (see story). Last season, he scored 45 goals for the WHL's Kelowna Rockets. The 20-year-old will be worth watching in his first season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Here's what he said after Wednesday's morning skate, via NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Boruk:

I've had the mentality of wanting to earn my spot here over the past couple of years. If you don't see yourself doing it, it's going to be tough for you to actually accomplish it. I feel like I've been performing well and working my way to earn a spot.

Here are the essentials for tonight:

When: 7 p.m.
Where: Madison Square Garden
Live stream: The Flyers' official website

Projected lineup

Claude Giroux-Mikhail Vorobyev-Dale Weise
Oskar Lindblom-Corban Knight-Scott Laughton
Carsen Twarynski-Jordan Weal-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Cole Bardreau-German Rubtsov-Colin McDonald

Robert Hagg-Philippe Myers
T.J. Brennan-Radko Gudas
Yegor Zamula-Christian Folin

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

Recommended reading

• Why Flyers' top prospect isn't ready for NHL just yet

Something important to remember with Frost, Ratcliffe

Junior coach says believe in Rubtsov's offense

• Giroux, Konecny, Weal ... Myers shows them he's 'unique'

• Myers could determine if Flyers bring in defensive help

• Flyers 'see this rise' with Myers, who can handle pressure

• Hextall banking on Weal ... again

• Flyers prospect Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

• Are Flyers next? How Hart won over his junior GM