Caps smash Pens 5-2 to force Game 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Andre Burakovsky scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom got his sixth of the playoffs and the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Monday night to force a Game 7 in their taut Eastern Conference semifinal.

John Carlson and T.J. Oshie also scored for the Capitals. Braden Holtby stopped 16 to send the series back to Washington for the deciding game on Wednesday night.

Jake Guentzel picked up his playoff-leading ninth goal and Evgeni Malkin added another 52 seconds later late in the third period to make the score look cosmetically better, but the Penguins were never in it. The Capitals controlled play throughout. Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 21 saves and received little help in front him.

This is the fourth time the Penguins and Capitals will meet in a Game 7. Pittsburgh has won each of the three previous deciding games, the last in 2009 in Washington on its way to the Stanley Cup.