PITTSBURGH — 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 Game 7 in their taut Eastern Conference semifinal series.

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

Jake Guentzel picked up his playoff-leading ninth goal and Evgeni Malkin added another 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 the three previous deciding games, the last in 2009 in Washington on its way to the Stanley Cup.

The Capitals appeared on the verge of another exit at the hands of the Penguins going into the third period of Game 5. The Presidents’ Trophy winners responded with a three-goal barrage over the final 20 minutes that extended their season.

The momentum carried over two days later. Washington systematically dismantled the defending Stanley Cup champions, who looked listless as they struggled to generate any kind of sustained pressure.

Pittsburgh Coach Mike Sullivan tinkered with his lines after Game 5, reuniting Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel, who played an instrumental part in the team’s Cup run last spring. Sullivan also moved rookie Guentzel alongside Malkin and put Conor Sheary with Sidney Crosby, who was a nonfactor for a second straight game after sitting out Game 4 because of a concussion.

RANGERS-SENATORS: The Rangers have had a tough time closing out against the Senators in Ottawa, a challenge they’re eager to take on again. First, there’s business to take care of in New York.

After giving up another late lead before losing in overtime again on the road, the Rangers return home needing a win in Game 6 on Tuesday night to avoid elimination in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“We have no time to waste right now,” Rangers forward Jesper Fast said.

The Senators took the series lead with a 5-4 overtime win Saturday after tying the score late in the third period.

Ottawa did the same thing on home ice in Game 2 to take a 2-0 lead before the Rangers won twice at home.


PREDATORS: Nashville signed forward Emil Pettersson to a two-year, entry-level contract.

The 6-foot-2, 164-pound center has spent the past four seasons in the Swedish Hockey League after being drafted by the Predators in the sixth round in 2013. He is expected to play for the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals next season.