Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Series: Tied 2-2
Next game: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, Capital One Arena
• Capitals dump Game 4, initial though Tom Wilson, as array heads behind to Washington tied during 2. (Read more)
• Top takeaways: Guentzel hot, Ovechkin not. (Read more)
• Jake Guentzel scored twice, including an empty-netter to sign Pittsburgh’s 3-1 win that intended a array during dual games apiece. (Read more)
• This array always facilities constrained hockey — and some other drama, too. (Read more)
PITTSBURGH – It was mocking that a chastisement for too many group on a ice hermetic a detriment for a Capitals, preventing Washington from removing a man-advantage when it pulled goaltender Braden Holtby. The Capitals seemed shorthanded for a whole contest.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-1 win Thursday night tied a best-of-seven array during 2-2, with dual of a subsequent 3 games in Washington. Though a Capitals pronounced a deficiency of dangling top-line right wing Tom Wilson would motivate them, it also was clear how many he was missed, generally as captain Alex Ovechkin was hold though a shot on idea in a playoff diversion for usually a third time in his career.
“Trust me, Ovi will get his shots,” Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said.
“If we play Pittsburgh, you’re not going to win if we measure one goal,” core Nicklas Backstrom said. “You need more.”
The Capitals entered a diversion some-more than a small peeved. The group was unfortunate with a NHL Department of Player Safety’s preference to postpone Wilson for 3 games given of an bootleg check to a conduct of Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese, who suffered a damaged jaw and a concussion. T.J. Oshie sexually shielded Wilson on Thursday morning and called a three-game cessation “very extreme.” Oshie pronounced a rest of a group would have to make adult for a detriment of Wilson’s physicality, and a Capitals had 43 hits to a Penguins’ 25 after one period. Oshie lead a approach with eight.
“Any audacity that we competence have had from a final integrate of victories has been squashed from a fact that we’re losing Tom, that he’s been taken divided from us for a integrate games here,” Oshie pronounced before a game. “We’re dismissed adult to play, and we wish to win a diversion for him.”
But Wilson’s deficiency was a strike to a Washington brazen corps already blank winger Andre Burakovsky, who recently had medicine for an undisclosed upper-body injury. Devante Smith-Pelly altered into Wilson’s right wing mark on a tip line with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
That line looked incongruous via a game, and Ovechkin, who has 8 goals this postseason, never got a shot on goal, hold though so many as an try for a initial 40 minutes. The contingent were on a ice when Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel punched in a miscarry for a initial idea 9:21 into a second period.
“Devo did a unequivocally good pursuit stuffing in,” Trotz pronounced of Smith-Pelly. “Obviously, Tom is a singular player. But we suspicion that line was going head-to-head flattering well. There wasn’t many space out there on both sides.”
The Penguins have been spiteful for delegate scoring — any Pittsburgh idea this array has come with captain Sidney Crosby on a ice — though Guentzel has shined. His 10 goals and 11 assists lead all players in postseason scoring. He combined an empty-netter in a final notation of a game, after a too-many-men chastisement to Washington. That was a Penguins’ 24th and final shot. The Capitals managed usually 21, with both teams incompetent to get many going offensively.
Oshie tied a diversion on Washington’s second energy play, one-timing a pointy feed from Backstrom. But afterwards it was Oshie who helped broach a lead behind to a Penguins. He was called for division on defenseman Brian Dumoulin, and Pittsburgh took advantage of a energy play. Evgeni Malkin dived for a rebound, knocking a puck in a instruction of Holtby’s outstretched blocker. Just as in Game 2, there was a examination to see possibly a puck had indeed crossed a idea line, and this time a idea counted for a Penguins.
“I shot us in a feet there with that penalty,” Oshie said. “I was perplexing to make a intelligent play by holding divided their [defenseman’s] stick, and it finished adult being a reticent play by writing his movement there. That was kind of a branch indicate in a game, when they got that idea there when we was in a box. So I’ve got to be a small smarter than that.”
Trotz afterwards challenged for goaltender interference, and a league’s preference was discerning there, too, again in preference of Pittsburgh.
“You can protest about this or protest about that or consternation about this or whatever,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “You usually keep personification a diversion unequivocally tough and keep believing. we consider we’re building a faith that we can kick these guys. We know we’re going to have to play unequivocally well, though it’s possible. We consider we can do it. We’ve usually got to play unequivocally well.”
Frustration hot over?: The Capitals now face a best-of-three array opposite a two-time fortifying Stanley Cup champions. They’re in a many softened mark than they were a past dual years, when they dug 3-1 holes opposite Pittsburgh in a second round. Still, Thursday represented a missed event for Washington and a beating showed.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported that a routinely amiable unnatural Nicklas Backstrom threw his hang opposite a wall on his approach to a sauce room and shouted “F— this league” after he came off a ice. When Wyshynski asked what he was so dissapoint about, Backstrom replied, “That we didn’t win.”
Jake Guentzel stays hot: Sidney Crosby has been on a ice for all 9 of a Penguins’ goals this series, though a undisputed biggest difference-maker for Pittsburgh has been Jake Guentzel. The 23-year-old is carrying a postseason for a ages, and scored his ninth and 10th idea of a playoffs, to go along with 11 assists, in Thursday’s win. It shouldn’t come as a warn that Washington’s usually idea of a diversion came with Guentzel in a chastisement box.
Wilson’s absence: With Tom Wilson portion a initial diversion of his three-game cessation for his Game 3 strike on Zach Aston-Reese, Capitals Coach Barry Trotz bumped Devante Smith-Pelly into Wilson’s common mark on a initial line. Perhaps no one missed Wilson some-more than Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals’ captain, who scored a thespian game-winner in Pittsburgh with 67 seconds remaining on Tuesday, unsuccessful to register a shot on idea in a playoff diversion for a initial time given 2012. Smith-Pelly also went shot-less, while first-line core Evgeny Kuznetsov led Washington with 5 shots on goal.
Motivation: Before a game, T.J. Oshie pronounced he suspicion a NHL’s cessation of Wilson was extreme and that Washington was encouraged to “win a diversion for him.” Oshie did his part, with a energy play idea in a second duration — his fourth of a playoffs — off a pleasing feed from Nicklas Backstrom. While Wilson’s deficiency clearly influenced Washington offensively, a penalty-killing unit, of that Wilson is a vital partial when he’s in a lineup, achieved admirably. The Penguins were 2-for-4 with a male advantage, though one idea was Guentzel’s empty-netter and a other featured some bad fitness when Matt Niskanen pennyless his hang and scrambled to steal Smith-Pelly’s. It didn’t work out good for a Capitals and led to a Penguins’ initial idea of a night.
Final: Penguins 3, Capitals 1
Empty-netter: With 1:25 remaining and a Capitals still trailing 2-1, Braden Holtby headed to a dais to give a Capitals an additional attacker. Fourteen seconds later, Washington was assessed a two-minute teenager for carrying too many group on a ice. After Holtby vacated a double for a second time on a Penguins’ indirect energy play, Jake Guentzel buried his second idea of a diversion into an dull net. A two-goal lead is a lot reduction dangerous when it comes in a final minute.
T.J. Oshie and Kris Letang churned it adult and were assessed five-minute majors for fighting after Guentzel’s dull net goal, and that would do it for a fad in Game 4. The array is headed behind to D.C. tied dual games apiece. Game 5 is Saturday during Capital One Arena.
Penguins creation a sacrifice: In a raging final duration with few stoppages, a Penguins are sacrificing their bodies to reserve their 2-1 lead. Jake Guentzel wore a slap shot from John Carlson mins after Patric Hornqvist prevented a Michal Kempny shot from removing by to Matt Murray. The Capitals have slanted a ice given a early stages of a period, though they usually have 3 shots to uncover for it. At a other finish of a ice, Braden Holtby kept Washington within distinguished stretch with a gorgeous save off a deflection by Guentzel with 3:53 remaining in regulation.
Pens still have corner to start third: The Penguins have 3 of a initial 4 shots in a third duration with some-more than 6 mins left by and a Capitals still trailing by a goal. Braden Holtby put an finish to a best scoring possibility by possibly group in a support by covering adult a lax puck in front of a net following a integrate of shots by Jake Guentzel. (Who else would it be?)
An O-for for Ovi?: Alex Ovechkin, a favourite of Game 3, has been a non-factor in Game 4. In over 14 mins of ice time, including skating with a energy play, he has nonetheless to try a shot on goal. It’s substantially zero to worry about — he’s usually had 14 games in his career, including a playoffs, though a shot on net — though Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin, a defensive span skating many opposite him, are assisting lean a ice in Pittsburgh’s favor. Letang alone has 5 shot attempts already, all during even strength.
Guentzel a Great: Jake Guentzel is doing it all for Pittsburgh. The heading scorer in a postseason potted his ninth idea in a second duration and he leads a team’s forwards in shot attempts (four), high-danger scoring chances (three) and hits (four).
Give credit to Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz for perplexing anything to behind him down during even strength. All 4 of Washington’s tip 4 defenseman have common ice opposite him nonetheless Guentzel and a Pittsburgh forward’s linemates still possess a advantage in goals (1 to 0) and chances (5 to 1).
End of Period 2: Penguins 2, Capitals 1
The Penguins will take a one-goal lead into a third duration for a second uninterrupted diversion after a furious 20 mins that featured 3 goals, 5 penalties and another replay examination for a idea that officials didn’t order a idea in genuine time.
Unlike in Game 2, when replay examination inspected a no-goal call on a ice that benefited Washington, officials dynamic that Evgeni Malkin managed to jam a puck opposite a idea line after a insane hasten in front of Braden Holtby.
The Capitals, who outscored Pittsburgh 2-0 in a third duration of Tuesday’s 4-3 win in Game 3, have an 18-17 advantage in shots.
After review, and challenge, Penguins go adult 2-1: For a second time in 3 games, there was a extensive video examination of a intensity idea that wasn’t ruled a idea on a ice.
With 2:26 remaining in a second duration and Pittsburgh on a energy play, officials reviewed possibly Evgeni Malkin’s diving miscarry shot with Braden Holtby fibbing disposed on a ice crossed a idea line.
The referee’s microphone wasn’t working, though his vigilance — indicating to a faceoff dot during core ice — told everybody during PPG Paints Arena and examination on TV what they indispensable to know. It was a good goal, and Pittsburgh led 2-1. The Capitals afterwards challenged for goalie interference, though a idea was inspected on review.
You get a penalty, and we get a chastisement … : The some-more time Jake Guentzel spends in a chastisement box, a some-more expected a Capitals are to conduct behind to D.C. with a 3-1 array lead. Less than dual mins after T.J. Oshie’s equalizer, Guentzel headed behind to a box for a condense of Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Capitals had 4 shots on idea with a male advantage, though unsuccessful to get one past Matt Murray. With 7 seconds remaining on a energy play, Oshie was sent off for interference, and that valid dear for a Caps.
All even after T.J. Oshie’s power-play tally: Three mins after he gave a Penguins a lead, Jake Guentzel gave a Capitals their second energy play of a diversion when he tripped Lars Eller during core ice. This time, Washington finished Pittsburgh pay. Guentzel slapped his knees in beating in a chastisement box after T.J. Oshie one-timed a ideally placed pass from Nicklas Backstrom past Matt Murray to tie a game.
Penguins take 1-0 lead as Jake Guentzel stays hot: For a initial time in 4 games this series, a Penguins scored first. Jake Guentzel pennyless a scoreless tie 9:21 into a second duration by jamming home a miscarry past Braden Holtby off a shot by Dominik Simon. It was Guentzel’s league-leading ninth idea of a playoffs.
Another kill for a Caps: The Penguins managed usually one shot on idea during their second energy play of a game, that came after Chandler Stephenson was whistled for slicing 3:30 into a period. Pittsburgh is now 1 for 11 in a array with a male advantage. The Capitals’ penalty-killing section has looked clever in Game 4, notwithstanding being though Tom Wilson.
Kick save and a beauty … by Dmitry Orlov: Shortly after a Capitals’ initial energy play of a diversion ended, Dmitry Orlov finished a save of a night. With Braden Holtby out of position, Sidney Crosby found Justin Schultz, whose shot was headed for a behind of net if Orlov’s leg hadn’t gotten in a way.
Matt Murray jarred up: In a initial notation of a second period, Dmitry Orlov unleashed a barb of a shot from a indicate that held Murray in a chest and caused a Penguins’ goalie to press over in pain. Murray eventually got to his feet as officials announced a behind chastisement on Evgeni Malkin for slashing. Murray would sojourn in a diversion to face a Capitals’ energy play, that Pittsburgh killed off. Murray’s backup is Casey DeSmith, whose subsequent coming in a playoffs will be his first.
Pretty even initial period: Pittsburgh and Washington were roughly even in scoring chances (6 to 4) though a Penguins attempted 4 shots in a container and a double while a Capitals had usually one. Jake Guentzel had dual of those high-danger chances for Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, Carl Hagelin and Evgeni Malkin have nonetheless to see their line put any shots on net. Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang have any been on a ice for 7 shots on net and usually dual against.
End Period 1: Capitals 0, Penguins 0
Matt Murray and Braden Holtby both looked pointy during a scoreless initial period. A few mins after Murray took divided a five-hole to spin divided a Shane Gersich shot on a breakaway, Holtby denied a impassioned Jake Guentzel on a doorstep. Holtby got usually adequate of a missile of his hang on Guentzel’s shot, that seemed headed for a behind of a net for his ninth idea of a playoffs. Washington sealed a duration with a flurry, though Murray stopped shots by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Chiasson in a final 10 seconds to keep a diversion tied.
Ovechkin and Crosby go boom: Even with Tom Wilson portion a initial diversion of his three-game suspension, a Capitals out-hit a Penguins, 22-11, in a initial period. Washington’s considerable sum enclosed a (perfectly legal) Alex Ovechkin check on Sidney Crosby in a final minute. Wilson ranked second in a NHL in hits by 9 playoff games.
Welcome to a playoffs, Shane Gersich: The Capitals’ best scoring possibility of a initial duration so distant belongs to … Shane Gersich. Making his playoff debut, a rookie skated in all alone on Matt Murray after receiving a pass during a blue line, but his five-hole shot couldn’t crack Murray, who finished a save.
Pretty even early: Penguins goalie Matt Murray was unsure via Game 3 and gave adult a array of luscious rebounds, though he rubbed his initial formidable possibility Thursday, denying an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot by trade from in front of a net. Through seven-plus scoreless minutes, a Penguins have a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal.
An early kill for Capitals: The Penguins entered Game 4 usually 1 for 9 on a energy play, though they had an early possibility to urge on that Thursday when John Carlson was sent to a box for hooking a small some-more than a notation after a opening faceoff. Pittsburgh managed one shot on idea over a subsequent dual minutes, as Washington’s penalty-killing section was again adult to a task.
Steel City dominance: #BeatPittsburgh has been a synergistic rallying cry for Washington’s ball and hockey teams this week, and let’s usually contend it was a terrible slip if D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser didn’t make a few accessible wagers with her Pittsburgh counterpart, Bill Peduto. The Nationals finished a brush of a Pirates with a 3-1 win on Thursday afternoon during Nationals Park, giving Max Scherzer and Co. copiousness of time to get home and watch a Capitals try to extend a District’s two-sport, five-day winning strain opposite a Black and Gold to 7 games.
Shane Gersich to make playoff entrance for Washington; Carl Hagelin active for Pittsburgh: After examination a initial 9 games of a playoffs from a press box, Washington brazen Shane Gersich was one of a initial Washington players on a ice during PPG Paints Arena for pregame warmups before Game 4. He’ll make his NHL postseason entrance in a arise of a cessation to Tom Wilson.
On a other end, Pittsburgh brazen Carl Hagelin also participated in pregame warmups, despite with a full shield. It appears that he will play tonight for a group who mislaid Zach Aston-Reese to a Wilson hit though whose health is differently trending ceiling with a lapse of core Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin to a lineup in Game 3.
Free Jakub Vrana: Vrana was hardly used during a initial dual durations of Game 3 though when he was promoted to a second line and skated alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie he helped make things happen. His particular rate for formulating scoring chances (12 per 60 minutes) ranks 12th in a playoffs among skaters personification during slightest 50 mins and is second on a group after Alex Ovechkin (16). With Wilson out, Trotz won’t be means to means stapling him to a bench.
Tom Wilson’s deficiency a blow to Capitals’ offense: Losing Wilson for 3 games is going to bushel a Capitals’ descent power. During a unchanging season, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Wilson outscored opponents 15 to 11 during even strength with some-more than 51 percent of all scoring chances generated going in Washington’ss favor. Swap in Devante Smith-Pelly for Wilson and it was somewhat outscored (6 to 5) with usually 45 percent of chances on a ice generated by that trio.
And high-danger, even-strength chances can be a disproportion in this matchup. Washington has scored on 4 of a 27 attempts in a container and double (15 percent) while Pittsburgh is usually 1 for 26 (4 percent). The Penguins will eventually start to money in on their chances — a joining normal acclimatisation rate is 13 percent — so a Capitals will have to find a approach to get some-more prolongation from that tip line over a subsequent 3 games.
• Suspension: The Capitals got bad news on Wednesday night with a NHL Department of Player Safety’s outcome that Tom Wilson would be dangling 3 games for an bootleg check to a conduct of Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese. Washington’s brazen corps is already depleted with Andre Burakovsky out with an “upper-body” injury, and Wilson has been a top-line element to Alex Ovechkin for many of a season. Wilson wasn’t finished accessible to a media, though his teammates voiced beating in a decision.
“I consider any audacity that we competence have had from a final integrate of victories has been squashed,” brazen T.J. Oshie said. “The fact that we’re losing Tom, that he’s been taken divided from us for a integrate games here, we’re dismissed adult to play and we wish to win a diversion for him.”
• Playoff debut: With Wilson out, rookie Shane Gersich will make his postseason debut, personification beside fourth-line core Jay Beagle. Gersich played in usually 3 games this season, signing with a group late in a year after his youth deteriorate during a University of North Dakota. Gersich is arguably a fastest actor on a Capitals’ roster, and that speed could be an item opposite a discerning Pittsburgh team.
“Obviously I’m going to use my legs a best that we can, keep my diversion flattering elementary and usually assistance a group get a win,” Gersich said.
“He brings a lot of a elements we’re looking for,” Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s got good wheels, has a rival suggestion about him, genuine good hockey IQ, he’s played some games, not any playoff games, though he’s finished a genuine good pursuit when he’s been in a lineup. we consider it’ll be a genuine good fit. He goes on that Beagle line and they’ve played together. It’ll be a good compare there. we told him to have fun. There’s zero like playoff hockey, so get out there and do what we do within a structure.”
• Road strength: The Capitals are undefeated on a road this postseason. A win on Thursday night would give Washington a autocratic three-games-to-one array lead and pull a Penguins to a margin of elimination.
“I consider infrequently during home, we tend to mystify a diversion a small bit, try and do a small too much,” Beagle said. “I consider on a highway it’s flattering easy usually to settle into a highway game, meaningful that a expectancy unequivocally isn’t on a divided group as many as a home with a throng and everything. And that we can usually go out and play a some-more elementary game. Sometimes it changes a diversion a small bit into pucks low and personification a some-more north-south game. And we consider when we do that, that’s when we play a best.”
Devante Smith-Pelly: Smith-Pelly played beside Ovechkin and core Evgeny Kuznetsov for some-more than 151 even-strength mins during a unchanging season, so it creates clarity that he was tabbed to reinstate Wilson on that tip trio. Trotz has been nominal of Smith-Pelly’s postseason play — he’s scored dual goals — and he brings a identical physicality as Wilson to Washington’s top-six brazen corps. Smith-Pelly scored 7 goals during 75 regular-season games, and he has dual goals and one support by these initial 9 playoff games.
“He’s a large boy,” Ovechkin said.
“I’m gentle personification there,” Smith-Pelly said. “It’s been a while, though I’ve pronounced it any time I’ve altered lines: we don’t unequivocally have to change what we do. Those guys are good adequate to kind of adjust to a approach we play. I’m identical to Willy, so we don’t have to change anything.”
Derick Brassard: The Penguins acquired Brassard before a trade deadline to accelerate their abyss adult a middle, though a core who has a repute for being a playoff performer has gotten off to a behind start this postseason. In 9 games, he has one idea and dual assists with a minus-one rating. The delegate scoring that propelled Pittsburgh in a past dual Stanley Cup runs has been missing; a Penguins’ tip line has scored five of a team’s seven goals this array and captain Sidney Crosby has been on a ice for any Pittsburgh goal.
“I consider there’s always that feeling-out routine in how a player’s going to fit in, what purpose he’s going to play and who he plays with and how we’re going to implement him via a march of a game,” Penguins Coach Mike Sullivan said. ” … We’ve left by a routine where we trust Derrick creates us a softened team, we’re deeper down a middle. One of a things we unequivocally like about him is his versatility. We can use him in so many ways. And we have finished that given we’ve acquired him. We can play him adult and down a lineup, he can play power-play time, he kills penalties, he’s a flattering good faceoff man and he’s a plain two-way core iceman. Because of that and his versatility, we consider we can implement him in so many opposite ways. We’re perplexing to put him in a position where he can play to his strengths. We’re perplexing to approximate him with people we consider can assistance him play to his strengths, and that routine continues.”
Immerse yourself in a Capitals’ postseason with The Post’s coverage of a Stanley Cup playoffs:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Devante Smith-Pelly
Chandler Stephenson-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana-Lars Eller-Brett Connolly
Shane Gersich-Jay Beagle-Alex Chiasson
Scratches: Andre Burakovsky (upper body), Tom Wilson (suspension), Travis Boyd, Brian Pinho, Nathan Walker
Dmitry Orlov-Matt Niskanen
Michal Kempny-John Carlson
Brooks Orpik-Christian Djoos
Scratches: Jakub Jerabek, Madison Bowey
Braden Holtby (starter)
Scratch: Pheonix Copley
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Dominik Simon
Carl Hagelin-Evgeni Malkin-Patric Hornqvist
Conor Sheary-Riley Sheahan-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Derick Brassard-Bryan Rust
Scratches: Carter Rowney, Zach Aston-Reese (concussion, damaged jaw)
Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Olli Maatta-Justin Schultz
Jamie Oleksiak-Chad Ruhwedel
Scratch: Matt Hunwick
Matt Murray (starter)