4 things we learned in the NHL: Capitals live to fight another day

He has no idea what it means, but saying it brings a smile to the face of Evgeny Kuznetsov, who’s adjusted to his new home in Washington, DC and formed an unusual friendship with teammate Brooks Orpik.

• Big third period keeps Capitals’ season alive
Sidney Crosby makes incredible return
• Senators continue to be amazed by Kyle Turris

Apparently being on the brink of elimination was all the Washington Capitals needed to step up and dominate a game. The Presidents’ Trophy winners put on a show in the third period on Saturday night and get to play another game as a reward.

That, along with a remarkable comeback by Sidney Crosby, another big goal by Kyle Turris and a stunning performance by Erik Karlsson made Saturday one of the more exciting days of playoff hockey so far.

Here are four things we learned.


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Capitals stun Penguins in third period

The Pittsburgh Penguins were up 2-1 on the Washington Capitals heading into the third period Saturday and seemed poised to win the series easily in five games. But something clicked for the Capitals and in the third, they broke out and pummelled the Penguins, scoring three goals and fighting off elimination with a 4-2 win.

Nicklas Backstrom tied the game and two quick goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin buried it. The Capitals stars knew their season was on the line, and they made sure it didn’t end.

The Capitals outshot the Penguins 32-22 in the game and 14-12 in the third period. But it was the quick goals from Kuznetsov and Ovechkin, only 27 seconds apart, that seemed to short-circuit the Penguins. For the first time all series, Washington looked in control.

After the game, the Capitals players were bursting with confidence. Just look at some of these quotes.

The Penguins still control the series and the Capitals can’t afford any more mistakes if they want to advance. But after Washington’s dominance in the third, it’s now hard to imagine this series won’t go the distance.

After the game, Ovechkin spoke with Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson about his team’s turnaround.

Sidney Crosby returns five days after concussion

Five days ago it looked possible that Sidney Crosby might never play hockey again. At least for now, that terrifying nightmare has been put on hold.

Crosby returned in Game 5 for the Penguins, less than a week after suffering a concussion in Game 3. And he turned in a solid night of work.

The Penguins captain finished with one assist, three shots and one hit in 19:10 of ice time. He also won 68 per cent of his faceoffs.

During the second intermission, the Hockey Night in Canada panel discussed Crosby’s return. As they show, Crosby wasn’t afraid of making contact, which is a good sign that he’s feeling better.

Lost in the Crosby noise was the fact that Conor Sheary also returned to the Penguins lineup after suffering a concussion in Game 3. He finished with no points and one hit in 14:03 of ice time.

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Kyle Turris continues to grow as a leader with Senators

Turris has come a long way since he joined the Ottawa Senators in 2011. At that point, the former third-overall pick was all but washed up with the Arizona Coyotes but in the six years since, he’s become one of the most important forwards in the Senators lineup.

Ottawa took a 3-2 series lead on the New York Rangers on Saturday thanks to Turris’ overtime winner. The shifty centre carried the puck into the zone backwards (which isn’t offside) then slipped past Dan Girardi and slid the puck between Henrik Lundqvist‘s legs.

The goal was Turris’ third of the playoffs and his third post-season overtime winner as a Senator. He now has 23 points in 38 playoff games with Ottawa.

The Senators needed that win after dropping two in a row in New York, scoring only one goal in each game on Lundqvist. Like Game 2 of this series, the teams traded leads but the Senators had to dig themselves out of a hole to eventually win the game.

Something that has become a bit of a trend in these playoffs.

After the game, Turris spoke with Sportsnet’s Kyle Bukauskas about his goal and the comeback the Senators made.

Is Erik Karlsson human?

Remember when Karlsson missed the third period of Game 4 with an injury? He apparently does not.

In Game 5, the superstar defenceman picked up right where he left off. With three assists and a game high of 31:09 of ice time, Karlsson was everywhere in this game and definitely didn’t look like a player battling injuries.

With his three assists, Karlsson now has 11 points in the playoffs, which has him tied for sixth in the league. The next closest defenceman is Nashville’s Ryan Ellis with nine.

The Senators rise and fall as Karlsson does, and right now he is playing at another level. Until he can’t go anymore, the Senators shouldn’t be taken lightly.

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