Steckel’s OT game-winner puts Caps into Game 7

May 11, 2009 | Drew Forrester

David Steckel’s overtime goal at 6:22 of sudden death gave the Capitals a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh on Monday night to force a 7th and deciding game game in Washington on Wednesday night.  It nearly didn’t happen for the Caps, who were thrashed in the first period but trailed only 1-0 due to superb play from rookie netminder Simeon Varlamov.   The Caps actually forged a 4-3 lead in the 3rd period before Sydney Crosby tied it with less than five minutes to play.  Late in the game, Washington killed a late (questionable) power play thanks in large part to Varlamov and his two outstanding saves on Evgeni Malkin.

Steckel’s winning goal was especially satisfying considering it was his miss early in overtime of Game 5 in DC that put the Caps behind the 3-games-to-2 eight ball.  

In fact, over the last two games, the Steckel-Boyd-Bradley line has been perhaps the Caps most effective offensive trio at both ends of the ice.  

The victory marks the 3rd straight playoff series that Washington has posted a Game 6 road win to force a 7th game.  Earlier this spring, the Caps fought back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the New York Rangers in 7 games.  

Washington’s Game 6 win at Pittsburgh tonight included goals from unlikely sources.  Viktor Kozlov had two goals for the Caps and Thomas Fleischmann and Alexander Semin both came out of moth balls to tally for Bruce Boudreau’s team before Steckel deflected in his game-winner.

It all comes down to one game now — in Washington.

That’s why it’s called home ice advantage. 

Let’s hope the Caps take advantage of it on Wednesday night.