2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals eliminate Blue Jackets

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Capitals eliminate Blue Jackets

April 24 (UPI) — Alex Ovechkin scored twice, helping the Washington Capitals eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets from the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.

“Ovi” scored both of his goals in the second period of the Capitals’ 6-3 Game 6 win in the first round of Eastern Conference play Monday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

The Capitals went ahead 1-0 at 12:12 in the first frame after Dmitry Orlov beat Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes. Nick Foligno tied the score 8:40 into the second period, beating Braden Holtby.

Then “Alexander the Great” got going.

The three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner scored his fourth goal of the playoffs after corralling a Brooks Orpik laser, which rebounded off of Bobrovsky in front of the Blue Jackets’ net. Ovechkin buried the ricochet at the 12:50 mark. He returned to torture the Blue Jackets’ net minder about six minutes later.

That time, Ovechkin was the third point of a terrifying offensive triangle for the Capitals. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov took the puck on the right side of the net, before firing it central to John Carlson. The defenseman then sent the puck to his left, finding Ovechkin for a one-timer.

The rip beat Bobrovsky and gave the Caps a 3-1 advantage.

“The rhythm was there, I just hit the puck,” Ovechkin told reporters. “I think Bob was in the net. I got lucky, you know? It’s kind of a typical playoff goal. You have to stay in the net because you never know what’s going to happen out there.”

Columbus cut into the deficit 2:25 into the third period, getting a score from Pierre-Luc Dubois. But the Capitals increased the lead to 5-2 after goals from Devante Smith-Pelly and Chandler Stephenson.

Foligno scored his second of the game at the 8:22 mark, but Lars Eller slid in an empty-netter to end the game and make the score final.

The Capitals battle the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. The winner of that series faces the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs for a right to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.

“It’s all about team,” Ovechkin said. “We’ve been struggling in the second round. We just have to believe in each other, don’t look what has happened in previous years. It’s this year. It’s a new season and new series.”