The stage is set for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals to face off in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third time in three years. This is the make or break point for both teams. Pittsburgh will either continue its quest for a “three peat”, or the Capitals will finally advance past the second round.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are considered the most challenging playoffs to compete in and the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in all of professional sports, according to the Bleacher Report. This is because 16 teams compete in the playoffs and that is more than any other professional league. The Pittsburgh Penguins have defied these odds and won the cup in back to back years and hope to win it again for the third straight year. However, the Washington Capitals have seen the struggle of advancing in the playoffs since they have never made it past the second round. Washington is a dominant team every year but as they make the second round of the playoffs they do not play as well. They start off well and then choke and blow the series. It is most noticeably when they play the penguins because they have never seemed to beat them in the post season.
The Penguins have a more in depth post season familiarity than the Capitals because they have been back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, but that does not mean that Washington is not up for the challenge. The Capitals had their share of success by winning the President’s Trophy last year and winning the Metropolitan Division this year. This series will be another thrilling match up because these two teams tend to make the games close and interesting.
This will be the fourth time these two teams have met in the playoffs during the Crosby versus Ovechkin era. The outcome has favored the Penguins in all of the times before but this year could be different. The winner of this series will most likely go off and win the Stanley Cup.