PITTSBURGH (AP) The Washington Capitals kept trying to downplay their own forgettable playoff history Authentic Louis Domingue Jersey , the one pockmarked with disappointment and despair. Still, they couldn’t run from it.No one bore the weight more than Alex Ovechkin. All the goals in the world – and the star forward is at over 600 and counting now – couldn’t take the sting away from the endless cycle of postseason runs that ended far too soon.”It’s so hard to move forward some time,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ”It’s always thrown in your face everywhere you turn. I know it’s thrown in Ovi’s face everywhere he turns and he’s a great player in this league.”One who is finally headed to a conference final, with a team few expected to make it this far. The Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for only the third time since the franchise’s inception in 1974 with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 6 against Pittsburgh on Monday night, a victory secured by Evgeny Kuznetsov’s breakaway 5:27 into the extra period .”It feels like something is over,” Kuzntesov said. ”It’s pretty hard to speak.”Maybe because – for now anyway – Washington’s long-held role as playoff fodder for the Penguins is over. The Capitals beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs for only the second time in 11 tries by playing a disciplined style dictated by Trotz, one that focuses on responsibility at both ends of the ice.The game-winning sequence began with Kuznetsov poking the puck away from Penguins star Sidney Crosby as Crosby tried to enter the Washington zone. The puck made its way to Ovechkin and he threaded a pass to a sprinting Kuznetsov, who beat Matt Murray to spark a celebration two decades in the making.”I don’t want to lie, it tastes a little bit better (beating the Penguins),” Kuznetsov said. ”You know http://www.officiallightningprostore.com/authentic-adidas-mikhail-sergachev-jersey , I never focus on the history. I only focus game by game. It feels very nice. You keep playing hockey, it’s unbelievable.”Washington went 1-1-1 against the Lightning in three regular season meetings, the last a 4-2 loss at home on Feb. 20. That was two long months ago, and the team that celebrated in an equal parts joyous and relieved dressing room on Monday night doesn’t look like the one that was still searching for its legs in mid-winter.Injuries forced the Capitals to put together a patchwork lineup that included a handful of rookies, such as Nate Walker, who became the first Australian to record a point in the playoffs when he set up Alex Chiasson’s second-period goal.”We did have our moment in the first period when we said `Do we have five rookies playing tonight?”’ Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. ”I thought our window had closed and we had an old team and we had five rookies. So our future remains bright and now we just have to focus on the third round.”Washington will do it with a resurgent Braden Holtby. Benched at the start of the playoffs in favor of Philipp Grubauer, Holtby heads to the conference finals playing some of the finest hockey of his career. He stopped 21 of 22 shots in Game 6 and is now 8-3 since Trotz put him back in the lineup.”Obviously everyone knows the difficulties we had getting out of the second round,” Holtby said. ”But that doesn’t make a difference in our main goal. Our main goal is still the Stanley Cup. The third round isn’t the Stanley cup. We have to refocus now. We can enjoy it and use that energy as kind of a recharge for the halfway point and push full force into the next round because it’s going to be a hard test.”One the Capitals believe they’re finally ready to pass. The franchise has only reached the Cup once, getting swept by Detroit in 1998, long before Ovechkin Nikita Kucherov Jersey , Holtby and Leonsis came on board. This is their best chance at the club, one they’re intent on not squandering.”We set goals every year,” Leonsis said. ”Make the playoffs. First round. Second round. Third round and win a championship. So we’re trying to check them off. It’s almost embarrassing that it’s taken this long for us to get past it.”Now that they have – at last, becoming the first professional team in the nation’s capital to reach a conference final since the ’98 Capitals did it – they’re eager to shed the past. It’s over and done. The future – and the Lightning – await.”We beat the Pittsburgh Penguins today and they’re a hell of a hockey team and we’re only halfway,” Trotz said. ”We haven’t done anything yet.”— GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) With a win in the regular season finale, the Anaheim Ducks secured home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs and finally know who they’ll face: the Pacific Division-rival San Jose Sharks.Rickard Rakell had a goal and assist, and Ryan Miller made 31 saves to lead the surging Ducks to a 3-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night, helping Anaheim clinch second place in the division.Rakell scored for the 12th time in his last 19 games. He led the Ducks with a career-high 34 goals and 69 points this season.”We know they have a good power play and they’re strong around the boards,” Rakell said of the Sharks. ”They have four good lines working really hard Ondrej Palat Jersey , so we’re going to have to match that.”Miller earned his fourth shutout of the season and 43rd of his career. It was also his 370th career win, moving him past Tom Barrasso for second place on the all-time list among U.S.-born goalies.”Definitely somebody I looked up to,” Miller said of Barrasso. ”Just happy to still be playing meaningful hockey and getting some wins.”Adam Henrique scored his 24th of the season for Anaheim and added an assist, and Hampus Lindholm scored an empty-netter before the final buzzer.The Ducks (44-25-13) won their fifth straight to finish 10-1-1 over the final 12 games.The Coyotes (29-41-12) finished last in the Pacific, but went 17-9-3 in their last 29 games in a season they started 1-12-1.”I thought we got better from October, so there’s some good positive things,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. ”We just ran out of gas tonight. For the most part, the last 25, 30 games, we beat some good hockey teams and I thought some of the young guys really progressed Ryan Callahan Jersey , which is nice.”The two teams combined for 26 penalty minutes.Arizona goalie Antti Raanta appeared in his first game since signing a three-year, $12.75 million contract on Friday that will keep him from free agency. He stopped 24 shots.”Anaheim, they played a strong game,” Raanta said. ”Everyone left everything on the ice but sometimes puck luck isn’t on your side.”An altercation between Coyotes defenseman Luke Schenn and Ducks forward Nick Ritchie in the first period resulted in minor penalties for both. That was followed by another confrontation involving Arizona’s Brad Richardson and Anaheim’s Derek Grant, with Richardson sent to the penalty box for two minutes.The power play for the Ducks helped when Henrique muscled in a backhand for a goal at 10:54 of the period, giving Anaheim a 1-0 lead. Rakell got an assist, his 35th.Richardson and Anaheim’s Corey Perry served five minutes for fighting early in the second period. The Ducks missed a chance to add to their lead when Jakob Silfverberg hit the post with a shot at 13:07 of the second.Rakell scored off a pass from Ryan Getzlaf with 3:43 left in the second. Getzlaf picked up his team-leading 50th assist of the season.Perry earned his 400th assist on Henrique’s goal.Anaheim logged its fifth consecutive 100-point season as a team.”We had a plan. We tried to execute the plan. I’m not standing here saying it was perfect by any means, we had a lot of speed bumps on the way,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. ”We’ve got our group together here over the last six weeks and we’ve played good enough to gain points.”NOTES: The Coyotes brought up D Joel Hanley on emergency recall from Tucson, their AHL affiliate http://www.officiallightningprostore.com/authentic-adidas-ryan-mcdonagh-jersey , in time for Saturday’s game. … C Clayton Keller, a rookie and the team’s leading scorer this season, was voted Coyotes Most Valuable Player for the season as voted on by local media. … Ducks C Antoine Vermette and F Troy Terry played Saturday, Vermette’s first game since March 23 and Terry’s second of the season. F Jason Chimera and F J.T. Brown were scratched. … A moment of silence was held in remembrance of lives lost in the fatal bus crash involving a junior hockey team in Canada Friday night.UP NEXTDucks: Western Conference playoffs vs. San JoseCoyotes: Offseason.