Penguins shut out Capitals in Game 7, advance to East final

Penguins shut out Capitals in Game 7, advance to East final

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russian Federation, is taken to the ice by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin (8) during the second period of Game 7 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal. The game lived up to the series hype and was easily the best 60 minutes of hockey the Penguins put together. Game 7 is something special. That's the most a Pittsburgh rookie has scored in a single postseason. There really is no measurement for momentum, it's just something people talk about and players feel.

They have to be feeling it at least a little bit, right?

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed nine goals on 58 shots the past two games after nine on 142 shots the first four games against the Capitals.

Penguins' Matt Cullen (7) celebrates his goal with Patric Hornqvist (72) in the first period of against the Philadelphia Flyers in Pittsburgh. They battled back from 3-2 in last year's Eastern Conference Finals and the majority of the skaters for Pittsburgh have their names on the Stanley Cup.

They showed grit and guile while bouncing back from a blowout loss in Game 6 and yet another early deficit in a seventh game, silencing the echoes of past winner-take-all events.

With one head-snap motion, Nick Bonino of the Pittsburgh Penguins reminded everyone about hockey's dirty little secret of embellishment.

And then the Capitals bubble burst. This is Game 7. Across the way, the only other player left in the locker room.

At 6:40 of the second period, Fleury stoned Lars Eller on a rebound in front. "That might have been the best game we've played in the playoffs to this point". Marc-Andre Fleury, a friend and teammate to both for more than a decade, looked up at them and grinned. The belief was gone, the Verizon Center was quiet (relatively), and scoring chances disappeared. They're a good team.

Bears sign OT Bradley Sowell to 1-year contract
With the slow-footed Mike Glennon now under center for the Bears, Massie could end up being a major liability at right tackle. Back in 2013, Sowell started 12 games for them at left tackle and was PFF's lowest graded tackle in the league that year.

Based on personnel groupings in practice Tuesday and the order players exited the ice after morning skate Wednesday, it's likely the Penguins will make a change to the make-up of their fourth line with Carter Rowney drawing in for Tom Kuhnhackl. What can't be overstated is how very bad and unfortunate it is that Caps fans are left with another offseason of "what-ifs" and "almosts". The late-season acquisition has played in a Game 7 seven times in his career, most among the Ducks.

This is the first of two Game 7s on Wednesday night; the Oilers and Ducks will decide their Western Conference series in Anaheim beginning at 10 p.m. ET. The Pens, the experienced group that they are, weathered the storm and stole a game.

Dorion is impressed with what his team has accomplished to this point, but thinks they have more to prove. Washington has not made the conference finals since 1998. The Caps have never won a game in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Pittsburgh is missing several big pieces yet is moving on. "You still got to go out there and do it".

With 3:53 left in the period, Fleury made arguably his best and most important save of the game to preserve the lead. Now they're eight victories away from another Cup.

He'll have history on his side. For Caps fans, you're left wondering what's next. Sidney Crosby returned from a concussion but has been slowed by the Caps. He'll be chasing the National Hockey League record of 21 points. They are now 6-0.

Fleury stopped all 29 shots in a turn-back-the-clock performance to shut out the Washington Capitals 2-0 in Game 7 on Wednesday night, sending Pittsburgh to the Eastern Conference finals to face the Ottawa Senators.

Playing only because No. 1 Matt Murray was injured prior to the playoff opener and with his future uncertain, Fleury was at his best in the biggest game of the season so far.

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