The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals will meet for the tenth time in the playoffs starting on Thursday. Most analysts believe this will be the NHL’s biggest series in this round. These are arguably the top two teams in the league going at it for a chance to advance to the conference final. The Penguins have won eight out of nine playoff series against the Capitals so let’s take a look at some of the biggest moments in playoff history between these two clubs.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals Playoff History
Super Mario at it again
The Penguins were down 3-1 in their 1992 Patrick Division semifinal series against the Capitals and it looked like the Penguins were likely going to get eliminated by the Capitals. The Capitals weren’t able to close out the series though as Mario Lemieux went on a tear to help clinch the series in seven games for the Penguins. He had 17 points in the final five games of that series including this beautiful game winner in game six:
The Penguins went on to repeat that year as they had also won the Stanley Cup the year before during the 1990-1991 season.
Caps Break Through
The Capitals only series victory against the Penguins came in 1994 when the two teams met and it was the third time in four years that they had met in the playoffs. The Capitals had a 3-2 lead in the series and were trying to close the Penguins out in game six and they did as they jumped on the Penguins 3-0 in the first period. Washington then really put the game away with goals from Calle Johansson and and Dave Poulin as they moved to the second round.
Petr Nedved a late night hero
The next time the Penguins and Capitals met in the playoffs was in 1996 and in game four of that series, one of the greatest moments in Penguins history happened. Pittsburgh was down 2-1 in the series heading into a massive game four showdown in Washington. The game ended up going into quadruple overtime before Petr Nedved ended the game shortly after 2 AM in the morning. Here’s the video of the goal:
The Penguins ended up winning this series 4-2.
Dueling hat tricks
This is easily one of the best playoff games of the past decade as both Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin put on a show. In game two of the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2009, Crosby and Ovechkin had dueling hat tricks and the game kept going back and forth until the Capitals finally won it. Ovechkin put the Capitals up 4-2 to notch his hat trick before Crosby would get his and make it 4-3 with less then a minute to go but by then it was too late.
Bonino Bonino Bonino
It was the goal call heard around the world when Nick Bonino sent the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Final last year. The Penguins raced out to a 3-0 lead but then took three consecutive delay of game penalties during the third period when the Capitals tied the game and sent it to overtime. The Penguins wanted no part of a game seven though as Nick Bonino won the game in overtime and the Penguins beat the Capitals in the playoffs for the eighth time.
Let’s hope that we all see some more magic moments in this series.