The Pittsburgh Penguins were impressive in their final game against the Washington Capitals. They simply looked like the better team for much of the game, and the scoreboard showed it. Sidney Crosby scored two goals, and the Penguins stifled Alexander Ovechkin all game, beating the Caps 6-2 in front of their home fans. Evgeni Malkin chipped in two assists, as well.
The Capitals never really got anything going in this one, as Crosby got things started with a goal on the powerplay less than 8 minutes into the game. Eight seconds later, grinder Craig Adams scored and the game went downhill from there. The two goals set an NHL record for the fastest goals scored in a Game 7. Crosby would add an assist in the 2nd on Bill Guerin>’s goal, but it was Kris Letang’s goal two minutes later that earned young Caps netminder Simeon Varlamov a trip to the bench. Unfortunately, his replacement, Jose Theodore, gave up the Penguins’ fifth goal about half way through the 2nd period.
In a series that was defined by the rivalry between superstars Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, this game was no different. Ovechkin would score a meaningless goal with 2 minutes left in the 2nd period, but the Capitals were already down 5-0. Crosby, on the other hand, scored the first and last goal for the Penguins, stripping Ovechkin of the puck 2 minutes into the third, and beating Jose Theodore on the following breakaway. Crosby now leads all playoff goal scorers with 12. The last goal of Game 7 gave him the edge over Ovechkin, who finishes the season with 11 playoff goals and is currently tied with Crosby for the lead in playoff points.
Providing a big boost for the Pens was the addition of injured defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar had been out of the series since sustaining a leg check from Ovechkin in Game 4. The Pens had begun to look a little sloppy in his absence, but he added an assist on the game’s first goal, proving his worth on the powerplay. Marc-Andre Fleury finished the game with 19 saves, and gave up only 22 goals throughout the 7 game series. The Penguins will have to wait to see who wins the Carolina/Boston series before they will know whether they will have home ice advantage or not in the Conference Finals.