Alex Ovechkin of Capitals played through knee, hamstring injuries

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Two of the top five players on the planet.

"Stay humble, keep doing what we're doing, it's working but at the same time we know how good the team over there is and we're not taking them lightly", centre Zack Smith said.

"[Ovi] always comes to play for Russia", Znarok said. He went all out in signing Williams and defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik and acquiring Oshie two years ago, center Lars Eller last summer and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk at the trade deadline to solve all of the Capitals' apparent woes to go for a Stanley Cup now. "Made a couple mistakes, and it cost us".

While this series seems like a big mismatch, the Senators proved in their conference semifinals series with the New York Rangers, and even their first round against the Boston Bruins, that they are capable of overcoming the odds.

A second straight year of the Capitals heading into the second round with home-ice advantage against the talented Penguins, and once again the blew it. It was an awesome series featuring an epic (and controversial) comeback in Game 5, where Anaheim erased a three-goal deficit with less than four minutes left in the third period to win 4-3 in overtime.

Coupled with my 4-4 first round, my less-than-stellar 6-6 record will be put to the test during the Western and Eastern Conference final. The Ducks are listed as small -115 home favorites for Game 1 on Friday.

The Senators won two of the three regular season meetings, though their 2-1 shootout victory on March 23 was marred by a slash from Crosby on defenseman Marc Methot left the pinky finger on Methot's left hand mangled, forcing him to miss 10 games. Sidney Crosby was out of the lineup for Pittsburgh.

If Kris Letang was healthy, this might be a different story. Ottawa's penalty-killers continued to impress as the Rangers were just 2-for-24 with the man advantage.

"They do everything during the regular season". Come playoff time, however, both have overcome their personal adversities and been outstanding. On Ottawa's side, Erik Karlsson is playing despite a fracture in his left heel.

The Ducks have allowed 13 power-play goals, more than any other National Hockey League playoff team, and have gone only 5-for-36 on their extra-man chances, third-worst of all 16 playoff teams.

Edge: Slight one to Pens. "We'll try to take it away this series as best we can". As for Mike Sullivan, he brought the Cup back to Pittsburgh last spring.

So while Pittsburgh faces Ottawa next, the Capitals head into uncertainty. But think what the Sens have overcome to get here. The goalie smiled at his fortune after that one.

What else would it be? "And it's hard. It needs time and we'll see what happens out there". While on the bench, they've been outscored, 18-9. Fleury allowed four goals on 16 shots in his one outing. "His teams, not only do they play well defensively, but they get in the offensive zone they have a concept, an idea of how to get the puck in the back of the net". But games aren't played on paper. The Blues now know they'll be picking at No. 27 overall with the Caps' first-rounder, in addition to their own first-rounder, No. 20 overall. "He stole us more than one game this series and he kept us in a lot of others".

Fleury has a 2.55 goals-against average and has denied 92.7 percent of the shots he has faced while the Penguins lead all playoff teams with 250 blocked shots over 12 games.

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