Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Series: Tied 2-2
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, Capital One Arena
• The Pittsburgh Penguins scored reduction than 3 mins into Game 5 to take a 1-0 lead. (Read more)
• Alex Ovechkin will demeanour to miscarry from Game 4, when he didn’t get a singular shot on net. (Read more)
• Penguins goaltender Matt Murray has been unsure during times this postseason, yet that wasn’t a box in Game 4. (Read more)
• The spotlight in Game 5 will be on if Washington can gets a tip line reignited. (Read more)
Not ideal: The Capitals usually managed one shot with a male advantage and a Penguins had a softened scoring possibility during a dual mins Chad Ruhwedel spent in a chastisement box, a short-handed wrister by Tom Kuhnhackl that Braden Holtby incited away. With reduction than 7 mins to play in a back-and-forth initial period, shots on idea are 10-7 Washington.
Special teams busy: Pittsburgh managed dual shots on idea during a initial energy play, yet Washington’s penalty-killing section softened to 6-for-6 during home in murdering off penalties. The Capitals’ possess energy play, that is 3-for-11 by 4 games, will get a initial possibility after Chad Ruhwedel was sent off for hooking Alex Ovechkin with 9:56 to play in a initial period.
First energy play to Pittsburgh: The Capitals have an 8-2 advantage in shots by a initial 7 minutes, yet a Penguins have a 1-0 lead and a game’s initial energy play after Matt Niskanen was sent off for hooking with 12:45 to play in a initial period. Pittsburgh is 3 for 13 with a male advantage this series.
Fast start … and a lead for a Penguins: The initial two-plus mins of Game 5 were each bit as sparkling as a Kentucky Derby. Alex Ovechkin, who didn’t register a shot on idea in Game 4 for a initial time in a playoff diversion given 2012, had a golden event opposite Matt Murray one notation after a opening faceoff, yet Murray denied a Capitals’ captain in front of a net.
A small some-more than a notation later, Jamie Oleksiak gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead with his initial idea of a playoffs with a shot that deflected off Brooks Orpik and past Braden Holtby.
Penguins continue to have a problem with delegate scoring: Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist comment for 8 of a team’s 10 goals scored, 4 of a Penguins’ 9 primary assists and 22 out of their 45 high-danger chances. Forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang are a usually other skaters on a group that have contributed goals in this series.
Washington, meanwhile, has 7 forwards with during slightest one idea scored — Alex Ovechkin has 3 — with dual blue liners, John Carlson and Matt Niskanen, assisting a means as well.
Top-line troubles for Capitals: Washigton’s tip line of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Devante Smith-Pelly wasn’t only bad offensviely in Game 4, it was completely outplayed by Pittsburgh’s tip line of Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Dominik Simon. Those 3 Penguins managed a 7-0 corner in shot attempts in a container or crease, also famous as high-danger scoring chances, during 10 mins of ice time when confronting a Caps’ tip contingent during even strength. If that doesn’t urge quickly, Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz is going to have to find someone else to float shotgun with a Russians until Wilson’s cessation is over.
One choice to reinstate Smith-Pelly is rapid Jakub Vrana. The 22-year-old winger skated 94 mins with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov during a unchanging deteriorate and outscored opponents 7-3 over that stretch. Plus, Vrana leads a group in sum high-danger chances (seven) constructed during this series, dual some-more than Ovechkin and 3 some-more than Kuznetsov. He could be a boost this group needs to get a tip line behind on track.
Puck dump after due to Kentucky Derby: Quick programming note before we dive into a Game 5 breakdown, notwithstanding a 7 p.m. start time advertised by NBC, puck dump won’t occur until 7:25 p.m.
• Alex Ovechkin: For only a third playoff diversion of his career, Ovechkin didn’t record a shot on idea in Thursday’s Game 4. Washington’s top line seemed to skip Tom Wilson, and Capitals Coach Barry Trotz will have Devante Smith-Pelly in a right wing mark there again for Game 5, opting to give that contingent some-more time to jell. Ovechkin has 8 of a team’s 35 goals, with Washington contingent on his prolongation to advance. Similarly, all 10 of a Penguins’ goals in this array have come with captain Sidney Crosby on a ice.
“Obviously it was not a best diversion for a line, yet we pierce forward,” Ovechkin said.
“He’ll get his opportunities,” Trotz said. “There’s not too many times that he doesn’t get shots on net. we consider a integrate times he attempted a additional move. The many dangerous thing with Alex is his shot, so put your shot in play and afterwards go from there.”
• No line changes: In a tight-checking Game 4, Washington struggled to beget many offense, as a team’s one goal came on a energy play. The Penguins did a softened pursuit tying a Capitals’ odd-man rushes. Trotz motionless to hang with a same lineup to start Game 5, yet he concurred that a Plan B and Plan C are prepared if Washington struggles offensively again.
“Gotta get to a tough areas more, gotta get a puck there, going to have to quarrel for those inches, quarrel harder to get into a interior spaces where we can get some of those pucks,” Trotz pronounced before Saturday’s game. “We have to do a softened pursuit than final game. we suspicion they had some-more recklessness in some areas. We’ll be prepared to go tonight.”
Said Oshie: “In a [offensive] zone, it comes down to sharpened around blocks and removing tips. we consider we saw in a Columbus series, they were doing a good pursuit restraint shots, so we started sharpened for sticks and it worked out for us. That’s kind of how we have to adjust right now since their forwards and their [defense] are doing a good pursuit of holding divided shot lanes and restraint shots.”
• Good start: The Capitals have scored a initial idea in 8 of their 10 playoff games so far, and that’s generally critical opposite Pittsburgh. The Penguins are tough to combat a lead divided from since they flower on capitalizing on mistakes with odd-man rushes when another group is creation an descent pull with some-more players fasten a attack. In each diversion they’ve lead after a initial duration this postseason, they’ve won. They’re 4-1-0 when heading after a second period.
Shane Gersich: Trotz was speedy from what he saw from a rookie in his playoff debut, generally Gersich’s early scoring possibility that went off goaltender Matt Murray’s pads. With Wilson still suspended, Gersich will be on a fourth line again Saturday night, potentially a cause with his clever speed. Gersich played reduction than 6 mins in Game 4.
“I would’ve desired to see him measure on his initial opportunity,” Trotz said. “He had a genuine good look. He did well. Shane, when you’re sitting there examination and we haven’t played a lot of National Hockey League games and we haven’t played in a playoff diversion and you’ve been around a power of a playoffs, and afterwards all of a remarkable a manager calls your name and you’re a man going on a ice, we suspicion he was flattering poised. He did a genuine good job. You can see he’s got a genuine good ability set.”
Matt Murray: The Capitals seemed to be targeting Murray’s glove side by a initial 3 games, and yet a goaltender has looked unsure during times this postseason with a 2.33 goals-against normal and a .909 save percentage, he was solid in Game 4, permitting only one goal. A year ago, Murray was harmed and Marc-Andre Fleury was a disproportion in a second-round array opposite a Capitals. Fleury is now a starter in Vegas and Murray doesn’t need to demeanour over his shoulder, yet that also means all a vigour is on a 23-year-old to uphold a Penguins to a third-straight Stanley Cup.
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)