Vrana, Capitals push Penguins to brink of elimination
WASHINGTON (AP) Jakub Vrana scored the go-ahead goal with 4:38 remaining, Braden Holtby made 35 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 in Game 5 Saturday night to take a 3-2 lead in the second-round series and put the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions on the brink of elimination.
Vrana, who also had two assists, was moved to the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov in place of Devante Smith-Pelly in the second period. Vrana sprung Kuznetsov for a breakaway on Washington’s tying goal 52 seconds into the third and finished off Ovechkin’s pass for the game-winner.
John Carlson and Brett Connolly scored 33 seconds apart in the first period, and T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller added empty-netters late to seal the win and help the Capitals move one victory from advancing to the Eastern Conference final for the first time in the Ovechkin era and first overall since reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 1998.
Game 6 is Monday in Pittsburgh.
JETS 6, PREDATORS 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Kyle Connor scored two goals and had an assist as Winnipeg pushed Presidents’ Trophy-winning Nashville to the brink of elimination with a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference semifinal.
Now the Jets, who just won their first playoff series in the first round, will have a chance to clinch a spot in their first Western Conference final Monday night in Game 6 back in Winnipeg.
Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves for the Jets.
Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist, and Paul Stastny and Mathieu Perrault also scored as the Jets got four goals on 14 shots in the second period. Blake Wheeler also had three assists, and Nikolaj Ehlers added two.
Yannick Weber and Ryan Johansen each scored for Nashville. Pekka Rinne, Nashville’s Vezina Trophy finalist, was pulled for the third time this postseason after giving up six goals on 26 shots.