"Especially when teams try to play a real aggressive game against us, I think our counterattack can be very unsafe and effective", the coach said on a teleconference on Sunday. "We got 3-2 and then 3-3 and the building's rocking". Braden Holtby, who holds the highest save percentage in playoff history, has not exactly looked like himself this postseason. Saturday's performance followed a Game 1 effort in which he allowed three goals on 21 shots and a first round series that saw him surrender 14 goals in the first four games.
That's as big a game as Washington will face as just 18 of the previous 87 teams to lose the first two in a best-of-seven series have come back to win, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
If the Penguins finish off the Capitals (does anyone really think they'll lose four of the next five games, with the next two at home?), they are staring at the possibility of a final four with Ottawa, Edmonton and Nashville or St. Louis. When Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen lost the puck battle with Patric Hornqvist in the neutral zone, Crosby finished on a 2-on-1 with Jake Guentzel 12 seconds in. After a scramble in front, Matt Niskanen gained control of the puck on the right-wing boards and made a flawless pass across the slot to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who one-timed the puck into a wide-open net. Washington had 35 shot attempts to the Penguins' eight through the first 20 minutes.
The Capitals responded quickly.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Capitals in the third period. And Washington had two power play opportunities in the period, compared to none for Pittsburgh. "They capitalized on a couple of mistakes in the second, and that changed the game".
Wearing a blue baseball hat instead of a hockey mask, sitting on the Washington Capitals bench instead of guarding their net, Vezina Trophy victor Braden Holtby shook his head as his replacement settled into the crease.
Coach Barry Trotz oversees a grim bench during the third period of the Capitals' 6-2 Game 2 loss against the Penguins. "The playoffs are made of big moments and on that third goal, it's a big moment". That third goal, that's a big moment.
"I saw a little opening there in the short side, and just tried to beat him", he said. "Obviously, I was frustrated that I didn't do that". Bonino outraces Brooks Orpik, staves off his slash and beats Braden Holtby over his right shoulder.
Marc-Andre Fleury turned back 33 shots for the Penguins, who stay in Washington for Game 2 on Saturday. Saturday night was a frustrating continuation of dominating the Penguins without reaping a reward.
But, they have carried play for most of the period, save for the last five minutes, and that's a change from the first-round series against Columbus, when they were constantly chasing the puck and weathering early storms.
"We didn't have the luxury of choosing whether we wanted to play well or not on the road and with that comes some confidence", Yeo said.
Pageau whizzed a wrister past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist 2:54 into the second overtime. For the Blues to wrestle control from the Predators, they will need another heroic effort from goalie Jake Allen while the Blues will have to find a way to contain Nashville's P.K. Subban.
He has now been the difference for Pittsburgh in this series as Washington's net has been leaky.
"They've gone to places you have to go to win championships", Trotz said of his opponent. "As he always is, he's a straight-up guy".
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