Friday, 21 September, 2018

Penguins chase Holtby, beat Capitals to take 2-0 series lead

Frederick Owens | 06 May, 2017, 07:56

Fleury's again been up to the challenge stopping 67 of 71 shots in the first to games of the series, again both Penguins wins and again largely due to their goalie.

"There are some areas that I feel that we can be a little bit better at", Vigneault said. But at the same time, we were still confident in ourselves going into the third.

Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist for Washington, which has yet to lead in the series.

WASHINGTON (AP) - When Sidney Crosby wasn't beating the Washington Capitals putting the puck through his legs, he was doing it belly down on the ice.

The Washington Capitals need a victory here in order to have any chance of winning this series, as they can't go down 0-3. But that doesn't always work as intended if the home team wants to keep its star players away from certain forward lines or defensive pairings.

On Saturday, after Holtby gave up three goals on nine shots in the second period alone, Capitals coach Barry Trotz sent out backup Phillip Grubauer for the final period.

Normally, a team that has such an edge in possession numbers like the Capitals had in Game 1 - naturalstattrick.com says the Capitals controlled 69.2 percent of the even-strength shot attempts, their best of the postseason - finds its way to the power play considering how often they had the puck.

Washington seems incapable of changing the mojo. So now it's about breaking every single game down, focusing on the moment, living in the moment, not worrying about statistics or the standings in the series.

Guentzel, the 22-year-old rookie, leads the National Hockey League with seven goals in these playoffs.

"Braden's our backbone, he has been all year". And once again, they're hearing about it.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby practises Friday, status for Game 5 still unknown
He called the Ovechkin slash "a pretty common play" but stopped sort of classifying Niskanen's in a similar fashion. Pittsburgh forward Conor Sheary , who suffered a concussion in Game 3, also returned to practice.


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The Capitals dominated the first period, but couldn't beat Fleury.

"We've got to get our shots through and around the blocks", Trotz said. "That's something we pride ourselves in and we look to do when we're playing road games". He went back to the locker room and did not return.

Did coach Mike Sullivan take a page out of the Lightning's 2016 playbook, or did the Penguins find this counterstrike identity organically?

"We know Conor has a much better game, and that's what we're trying to help him get to", Sullivan said. And Washington had two power play opportunities in the period, compared to none for Pittsburgh.

The Penguins regained the lead at 13:04 when Crosby entered the zone and, with a trio of defenders closing on him, fed across to Kessel.

Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Carl Hagelin (62), of Sweden, chases the puck against Washington Capitals center Marcus Johansson (90), also of Sweden, and center Lars Eller (20), of Denmark, during the first period of Game 2 in an. As that team left the ice as the loser for a second straight game, it searched for a way to prolong this journey.

One of the biggest parts of the Capitals' playoff campaigns year after year is the goaltending.

It wouldn't be entirely surprising to see Sheary in yet another new lineup spot come Game 3. Capitals D Karl Alzner missed his fifth consecutive game with an upper-body injury. And tonight was one of those nights.

These two teams know how to score.

A red-rocking Verizon Center was electric through a goal-less first period, and the sellout crowd got a chance to boo quickly in the second period.

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