Kuznetsov took a lead pass from Alexander Ovechkin and tucked the puck by Matt Murray to end Pittsburgh’s two-year reign as Stanley Cup champions and propel the Capitals into the NHL’s final four for just the third time in franchise history.
Braden Holtby stopped 21 shots for the Capitals, who will face Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals. Alex Chiasson scored his first playoff goal in four years during a taut, tight contest through regulation.
Kris Letang scored for the Penguins and Murray finished with 28 saves but couldn’t close his legs fast enough to stop Kuznetsov’s forehand flick from in close as Pittsburgh’s bid at becoming the first team in 35 years to win three consecutive Cups came to an abrupt end.
PREDATORS 4, JETS 0
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) – Filip Forsberg had two goals and an assist, Pekka Rinne stopped 34 shots for his second shutout of the playoffs, and the Nashville Predatos beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 to force a decisive Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Viktor Arvidsson also scored twice, including a late empty-netter, and added an assist for the Predators. Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen each had two assists.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots for the Jets.
Game 7 is Thursday at Nashville, Tennessee, with the winner advancing to face the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference final.
This back-and-forth series has yet to see a team win consecutive games.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – George Springer went 6 for 6 with a home run to match a Houston record as the Astros routed the Oakland Athletics 16-2.
Last year’s World Series MVP doubled and scored in the first inning, hit a three-run homer in the second and then singled and scored in the fourth. Needing a triple for the cycle, he reached on infield singles in the fifth and seventh before adding a fourth single up the middle in the ninth.
Springer’s batting average jumped from .264 to .292. He became the second player in team history to go 6 for 6 and the first to do it in a nine-inning game. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan accomplished the feat in a 12-inning game against the Milwaukee Braves on July 8, 1965.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – San Francisco pitcher Johnny Cueto will be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks because of a strained right elbow and will not have Tommy John surgery.
The 32-year-old right-hander was examined by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Cueto will undertake rest and rehabilitation.
Cueto is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in five starts. He on the disabled list for the second time this season. He missed two starts after spraining his left ankle in early April.
NEW YORK (AP) – The NFL players’ union has filed a non-injury grievance on behalf of free agent safety Eric Reid.
The NFLPA c