For six days, the Pittsburgh Penguins rested. But disaster is looming.
Pittsburgh went on to win the series opener, 3-2. If they don't, if they lose the first two games on home ice, then realists in Zip 20004 will know the true odds. They give the Penguins (and even gave the Maple Leafs) way too much time and space with the puck, and they have surrendered many opportunities that left Holtby out alone against the opposition.
WASHINGTON-It's probably not a stretch to call Saturday night's playoff game the biggest in Alex Ovechkin's National Hockey League career.
Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) skates with the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3), of Finland, during the second period of Game 1 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, T. Their speed and jump are there, but their passing is a little off, and a handful of what look like quality scoring chances don't develop.
Matt Cullen struck first, one minute and fifteen seconds into the second period.
Can the Washington Capitals clench the win on their own ice? Then he showed toughness normally attributed to Ovechkin by blocking Justin Williams' shot and passing ahead to Jake Guentzel, who beat Braden Holtby for a 3-1 lead.
But Pittsburg made it 5-2 at 5:31.
The Capitals eventually raise their play on both ends.
The fireworks continued in the third with Kessel's second goal of the game quickly answered by Backstrom.
Holtby was yanked for the start of the third period in what became a 6-2 loss for Washington against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, dropping the Capitals into a 2-0 hole in the Eastern Conference second-round playoff series.
It was as powerful an offensive display as we have seen from a Capitals team in one period in the playoffs. Those private discussions often had the desired response with Washington winning the games immediately after them. Familiarity should breed quick contempt, but Washington's changes are what players think will flip the script. The Penguins are constantly trapped.
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The delivery jagged away from the left-handed Sarkar, and the outside edge went to Niall O'Brien behind the stumps. The ground staff worked hard to try and squeeze in at least a 20-overs-a-side fixture, but that was not to be.
Braden Holtby was pulled after the second period. The Penguins got the win despite having just 21 shots. They are constantly under assault.
In these playoffs, Holtby has a.911 save percentage and 2.62 goals-against average.
The Capitals regroup and continue the assault. Early success last season covered up some of the team's deficiencies, so the Capitals didn't have the occasional lengthy postgame discussions like this year's team did.
The Penguins survive another storm. Despite the hype, these Capitals aren't any reason for the Penguins to worry. "He brings his best game when the games are most important, and we've got a lot of guys on our roster that we can say that about".
"We certainly would like to have better starts".
On the first goal, Hornqvist's effort in the neutral zone to gain control of a 50-50 puck led to a break up ice that Crosby finished after streaking down the right side and taking Guentzel's flawless cross-ice pass. "Every time you play in here, they like to throw pucks deep and go after us".
"Obviously they lost key player, Letang", Ovechkin said.
Fun in the sun: When a goalie is hot, the saying goes, the puck looks like it's a beach ball.
We know Fleury is on fire, but how long will he be able to bail out the Pens? The four teams that played Saturday combined to have only two power-play goals.
The Capitals have an aggressive and high-octane offense, but, for all their shot attempts, they're still down 2-0 in the series.
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