Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Capitals facing 2-0 hole to champions Penguins


The Washington Capitals face an uphill battle after suffering another defeat to reigning NHL Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pittsburgh took control of the second-round playoff series thanks to Saturday's 6-2 win at Verizon Center.

Presidents' Trophy winners the Capitals, who have a knack for wilting in the postseason, find themselves in a 2-0 series hole.

Phil Kessel scored twice with an assist and Sidney Crosby had a pair of assists, leaving the Capitals in danger of a second-round exit at the hands of the Penguins in consecutive seasons.

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, a Vezina Trophy finalist, did not come out for the third period as Washington were trailing 3-1. 

The series shifts to Pittsburgh, where the Penguins have a chance to close things out at home and send the NHL's best team during the regular season packing again. 

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators prevailed 6-5 in double-overtime to take a 2-0 series lead against the New York Rangers.


Three stars

Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins -The Pittsburgh goalie withstood a flurry of shots in the first period and made 34 saves against 36 shots to keep Washington's high-scoring offence at bay.

Phil Kessel, Penguins - Kessel was Pittsburgh's sharpshooter to lead the way in the blowout victory on Saturday. 

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Senators - Pageau scored four times on Saturday, including the game-winner in Ottawa's double-overtime win against the Rangers. His game-tying goal late in the third period marked his second career playoff hat-trick, and first since 2013.



Pageau whizzed a wrister past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist 2:54 into the second overtime. 

"Four goals, that's absolutely sick," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "It's not just four goals, it's the tying goal, it's the overtime one. It couldn't happen to a better person."


Sunday's game to watch

Game 2: Blues at Predators - The Nashville Predators had won five straight games in the playoffs, sweeping the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and then winning game one of the second-round series. The St Louis Blues broke through for a 3-2 win to even the series on Friday. For the Blues to wrestle control from the Predators, they will need another heroic effort from goalie Jake Allen while the Blues will have to find a way to contain Nashville's P.K. Subban. It will be up to St Louis forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored twice in Friday's win, to solve Preds goalie Pekka Rinne.