Ovechkin played through hamstring, knee injuries in playoffs

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Host John Matisz is joined by Adam Gretz, hockey writer for NBC Sports and FanRag Sports, to handicap the conference finals, rant about Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, and drool over Erik Karlsson. His playoff record is 60-52, including 17-13 in three seasons in Nashville.

"We've walked pretty much hand-in-hand in terms of what we're doing to accommodate players to the way he wanted to coach", Poile said. That was my thought process with (changing the sign). "When you're an underdog from Day One, with the injuries and everything that we've had this year, it's a motivational tool for everybody". I can't tell you when. The two exchanged hat tricks in Game 2 and Washington did something very un-Capital-like by winning an elimination game on the road to force a Game 7.

By nearly any measure, the Capitals have established that culture.

For the second consecutive season, the Pittsburgh Penguins are back in the Eastern Conference Finals, so it was back to work Friday as they prepare for Game 1 against the Ottawa Senators.

Fleury was rumored to be on the trading block all season, but has shined since Matt Murray was injured prior to Game 1 of the Columbus series. The Capitals face the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of a second-round series Wednesday, May 10. There's been some growth there.

With roughly $50 million already against next season's salary cap, the Capitals will be selective in whom they give contracts to.

"It felt like we had all the ingredients", Oshie continued.

Connolly did not have a point in seven playoff games with the Capitals; he was a healthy scratch in the other six (against Pittsburgh). In other words, the Capitals took 60 percent of the shot attempts in the series and still lost. "You have to sacrifice your body to get success, get the result".

Peters clings to the positive moments — Dale Hunter's Game 7 breakaway against Ron Hextall in 1988, or Joel Ward's victor against Boston in 2012. They were again outshot as they were in every game of the series, this time only 29-28, but Rust and Patric Hornqvist scored on Braden Holtby, and Fleury shut the door.

Goalie advantage: Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was sensational against the Capitals in Game 7, registering a shutout in the clincher.

Coach Mike Sullivan's decision to piece together a 1-3-1 scout team suggested otherwise.

Anaheim eliminated Calgary in four games and Edmonton in seven games. And it got even wider when the final horn sounded and he'd shut out Alex Ovehckin and Co., 2-0, allowing the defending Stanley Cup champions to advance to the Eastern Conference final against the Ottawa Senators. They committed six offensive zone penalties in Game 4. "Emotionally, I don't think I want to answer that question at all". The main thing is we've got to focus on what we've got to do be successful. "They've got enough tools to go from one style to another and still shine and do well".

"I think all Canadians will be rooting for the final Canadian team in the Stanley Cup playoffs", Trudeau said during a news conference in Brampton, Ont. "I don't know. I can talk about that probably a couple days with you, but I don't really want to because it's kind of tough a little bit".

Nashville (-125) is a slight favorite against Anaheim (+105) on the National Hockey League series prices for the Western Conference final, which begins at Anaheim on Friday.

The Ottawa Senators dominated Boston then rallied by the New York Rangers on the legs of seemingly tireless defenseman Erik Karlsson, the inspirational play of goaltender Craig Anderson and a neutral zone trap created to frustrate and suffocate opponents in equal measure.

Shattenkirk, who was only with Washington since February after being traded from St. Louis, has never shied away from discussing the mental toll failure can take.

Even banged up, the Pens have been playing top-notch hockey with maybe the lone exception of their Game 6 loss to the Washington Capitals, and any combination of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Phil Kessel will be too much to handle over the course of a full series. "It can be hard to overcome those past experiences. To see that opportunity missed, it really hurt our team".