As head coach of the Nashville Predators for 15 seasons, Trotz's teams made the Stanley Cup Playoffs seven times, but he didn't advance to the second round for the first time until 2011. Instead of lifting the puck over the prone goaltender, he stickhandled himself right out of a scoring chance. "I can't wait", he said.
This has been the mindset of a Capitals team that showed more fortitude than it had in previous postseasons.
Backstrom and co. notably fell one game short of the conference final in 2009 - a 6-2 loss to the Penguins - before Sidney Crosby advanced to win his first Stanley Cup. "Obviously, I'm really disappointed".
Pittsburgh enters the game as the substantial favorite with a -185 moneyline.
That the breaks went against the Capitals so often in this rivalry had started to wear on their room.
It might be tough to turn on the television and see Washington in the Eastern Conference final, a place they aren't accustomed to appearing, but take comfort in winning two Cups in the past three seasons, and know there are still plenty of good Penguins years of this era yet to come.
That was the problem. Kris Letang netted the Penguins' only score of regulation, beating Braden Holtby 9:39 later in the period.
In the end, if the Penguins finally fall to the Capitals, it will be because of the mistakes. But the three-peat bid still came to an end on Monday night.
"When you get that far, that's one post". There will be a maximum of four home games played during the Eastern Conference Final.
"In a few years we've done some great things, but we expect more". "We just need to make sure we keep going, keep playing the same way". Mentally, that definitely affects guys. "I thought the Malkin line was risky in Pittsburgh, and I challenged Kuzy and Ovi to step up tonight". "There's a lot of skeletons in the closet".
"You look at the last couple of games, it's a one-shot difference", Crosby said. Trotz said. "Your heart drops a little bit".
Kuhnhackl couldn't find the words, either. "That's just a plan in place and in these games you gotta show up to play. It could have went either way". Can the Capitals close out the series on the road? They are a part of a dreaded curse that plagued over Washington D.C. for almost two decades. You know it's a big game when Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin of the Steelers are in the building to support the city's hockey team. Take the Penguins in this one. Vrana sprung Kuznetsov for a breakaway on Washington's tying goal 52 seconds into the third and finished off Ovechkin's pass for the game-winner. "It's strong group and we stay comfortable and confident and just win us the game".