Philipp Grubauer

Capitals exorcise ghosts to reach Eastern Conference finals

The Washington Capitals kept trying to downplay their own forgettable playoff history, 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...

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