Roundup: Capitals advance with 6-3 win over Blue Jackets in Game 6
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Braden Holtby had 35 saves as the Washington Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 6 on Monday night.
The Capitals will next face Pittsburgh in the second round of the playoffs for a third straight year.
The Penguins won each of the last two years on the way to winning consecutive Stanley Cup championships..
Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist, and Dimitry Orlov, Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller also tallied for Washington, which never trailed in the game after prevailing in overtime in Game 5 on Saturday.
Nick Foligno had two goals, Pierre-Luc Dubois also scored and Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 22 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season and fourth time overall. They remain the only active NHL franchise never to win a playoff series.
The Capitals struck first again Monday night.
Orlov got his first goal of the series when he skated into the slot and rifled a slap shot over Bobrovsky’s glove side with 7:48 left in the first.
Foligno got his first of the playoffs halfway through the second when he snapped a shot past Holtby from the right circle.
Ovechkin put back a rebound of a shot by Brooks Orpik to make it 2-1 with 7:10 left in the second, the 50th playoff goal of the Russian star’s career.
He then gave the Caps a two-goal lead with a one-timer from the left circle on a power play.
The Blue Jackets tightened it to 3-2 early in the third after Matt Calvert shoveled a pass out to Dubois, who connected from the right circle.
But Smith-Pelly increased the Capitals’ lead again 91 seconds later when he broke away and lifted a shot over Bobrovsky’s glove. Stevenson got a short-handed goal 1 1/2 minutes later to pad it.
Foligno got the Blue Jackets to 5-3 at 8:22 in the third, but Columbus couldn’t get closer. Eller added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left.
MAPLE LEAFS 3, BRUINS 1
TORONTO — Frederik Andersen stopped 32 shots to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Monday night, forcing a decisive Game 7 in the first-round series.
William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Tomas Plekanec scored for the Maple Leafs, who trailed the series 3-1 before winning two straight.
They also trailed 1-0 early in the second period of this one. Nikita Zaitsev added two assists, and Marner and Plekanec each had one.
Jake DeBrusk scored for the Bruins, and Tuukka Rask — pulled in Game 5 at home, finished with 27 saves.
Game 7 is Wednesday in Boston with the winner advancing to face Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
There was a moment of silence before the opening faceoff at Air Canada Centre to honor the 10 people killed Monday when a van mounted a sidewalk in Toronto’s north end and struck multiple pedestrians. Fifteen others were injured.
Scoreless after an end-to-end first period, the Bruins grabbed a 1-0 lead 1:02 into the second when David Krejci won a faceoff after an icing against Auston Matthews right to DeBrusk, beat Andersen between his arm and body.
Toronto responded just 35 seconds later when Nylander buried a rebound of Jake Gardiner shot from the point for his first goal of the playoffs.
The Maple Leafs, however, went ahead with 6:35 left in the period when Marner was quickest to a loose puck in the slot and beat Rask with a backhand.
Plekanec sealed the win with an empty-netter with 1:14 to play.