|Associated PressDavid Steckel's overtime goal had teammate Alexander Ovechkin jumping for joy. (Associated Press)|
Steckel's strike forces Game 7
The Washington Capitals supposedly can't win without Alex Ovechkin scoring. They can't win an overtime playoff game. They can't beat the Pittsburgh Penguins when a series is on the line.
All that's ended, and it means a riveting, entertaining series matching the NHL's two biggest names and two of its best teams is anything but over.
David Steckel scored on a deflection of Brooks Laich's shot in overtime and the Capitals beat the Penguins, 5-4, in Pittsburgh last night to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"I think it's going to be great game," Ovechkin said. "I think the league wants us to play Game 7."
The Capitals, losers of their previous seven playoff overtime games, failed to hold a 4-3 lead late in regulation when Sidney Crosby scored. They made up for it when Steckel went to the net immediately after winning a faceoff. Laich wristed the puck from the right circle and Steckel tipped it past Marc-Andre Fleury 6:22 into the overtime.
Ovechkin, so dominating while scoring seven of Washington's first 15 goals, didn't get a goal but had three assists and has 13 points in six games. Crosby has 10, including six goals.
"They're incredible, both of them, and Malkin is just as incredible," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They play at a level other people can't attain."
Viktor Kozlov scored twice for the Capitals in the fourth game in six nights, all of them tight and tense.
Crosby tied it with 4:18 left in regulation by batting down Brooks Orpik's shot and pushing it past Simeon Varlamov, who made 38 saves - 17 in the first period alone.
"There was a lot of talk before the series started, and it's everything it was made up to be," said Crosby.
Blackhawks 7, Canucks 5 - Patrick Kane scored three times, Jonathan Toews had the go-ahead goal in a frantic final period, and host Chicago beat Vancouver to win the Western Conference semifinal series, 4-2.
When Chicago's Troy Brouwer was called for goaltender interference with eight minutes remaining, Daniel Sedin scored quickly with a shot from the left circle that put the Canucks ahead, 5-4.
Kane responded. He got a puck from behind the net and then maneuvered to the side and put a shot under Roberto Luongo to tie the game at 5.
Then, 49 seconds later on a power play, Toews tried to pass across the crease to Patrick Sharp. But the puck deflected in off Vancouver's Alexander Edler with 6:11 left.
Kane capped his hat trick with a hard backhander past Luongo with 3:43 remaining.