Series Fallout: 5 Key Takeaways on why the Penguins were ousted in 6 games to a less talented Capitals team

 

MBetter Team Prevailed in Penguins – Capitals The Washington Capitals on Monday night finally broke the curse in ousting the Penguins in six games on a overtime goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov, 5:27 into OT. The Capitals will make their first trip to the Conference Final in the Alex Ovechkin era. “Finally…..” Alex Ovechkin proclaimed. The Penguins three-peat chances officially ended on an overtime goal, just like their three-peat quest in 1993 also ended in overtime. Pittsburgh was the more talented team on paper in this series but in a number of areas Washington was just slightly better from first-second level scoring, to obviously goaltending, to role players elevating their play at a crucial moments and Washington played with a more efficient defensive structure that kept just about everyone not named Sidney Crosby/Jake Guentzel off the scoresheet during 5-on-5 play. What Went Wrong for the Penguins and why a less talentedRead More »

Game 5 Fallout: On Penguins 3rd Period Collapse, Kris Letang’s play/future, Facing Elimination

 

Game 5: Capitals put the Penguins on the brink of elimination Mike Sullivan “really liked” the Penguins game Saturday night. He even felt it might have been the Penguins best game of the series. “There was a whole lot of this game that we really liked,” said Sullivan. “It might have been our best game of the series.” Unfortunately for the Penguins, two great periods don’t win you a sixty minute game. The Capitals scored four goals in the third period, including two empty-netters, to rally past the Penguins for a 6-3 win in Game 5 to put the Penguins on the brink of elimination. This was an extremely frustrating loss for the Penguins because of how they significantly carried the play through the first two periods. Pittsburgh had their most productive game from the Derick Brassard line all series, the line producing the opening goal of the game, aRead More »

Game 4 Analysis: Penguins Show Game 7 type mentality with an elite ‘tracking the puck game’ to even-up series

 

Game 4 Analysis: Penguins Show Game 7 type mentality with 200 ft Game Penguins – Capitals was a true toss-up heading into the series and what shouldn’t be a surprise to many, the series is even at 2-2 after four games and now a best-of-3 in what feels like is going to be a seven game series. The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided a fourth straight home loss with a 3-1 win over the Capitals in Game 4. Jake Guentzel had 2 goals as his sensational play continues, Matt Murray stopped 20 of 21 shots and Evgeni Malkin broke a 1-1 tie with a power play goal with 2:29 left in the second period in diving to stuff a puck just past the goal-line for a Penguins 2-1 lead. This series has been about as evenly matched as it could get as all four games have pretty much been 50-50 games, butRead More »

Series Buzz: Potential Return of Carl Hagelin & Impact of the Capitals losing Tom Wilson to a suspension

 

Penguins – Capitals Series Buzz The NHL Department of Player Safety pulled a stunner on Wednesday evening in suspending Capitals winger Tom Wilson for three games, meaning he will only play in this series if it goes seven games. There were countless debates on whether Wilson deserved at least 1-2 games with a crowd among former players who believe it was a hockey hit. Nonetheless, there was no escaping for Wilson on avoiding a suspension here because of the NHL’s precedent of factoring in injuries on whether to suspend a player or not. Wilson is a predatory, head hunter type of player and while I hated the Wilson hit on Dumoulin much more than the Aston-Reese one as Aston-Reese was at least bracing for the hit, the NHL Department of Player Safety’s breakdown of the video in slow motion further illustrates Wilson got what he deserved. The thing that standsRead More »

Game 3 Fallout: Ovie Strikes Late, Penguins are a 1-line team & chasing the series…….

 

Capitals take 2-1 Series Lead Off an Olli Maatta offensive zone turnover, Alex Ovechkin capitalized on a 2-on-1 with 1:07 remaining in regulation to deliver a 4-3 Capitals win in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. Pittsburgh’s comeback in Game 1 was more of the same with Washington collapsing in the third period, but the Capitals performance in Game 2 and out-scoring Pittsburgh 2-0 in the third period of Game 3 to go up 2-1 in the series, things are slowly moving in the direction that the Capitals may finally solve the Penguins this year. Game 3 had a similar feel of Games 1 and 2, with each team having stretches of stronger play but for the most part it was a near 50-50 game. Shots were even at 22-22, though, Pittsburgh had a 19-12 edge and 3-2 lead on the scoreboard after the second period. Pittsburgh lookedRead More »

Game 2 Fallout: After Further Review………

 

Game 2 Fallout Penguins – Capitals is all evened up at 1-1 after a Washington 4-1 win in Game 2. For the Penguins heading into the series, to split in Washington without Evgeni Malkin was something the Penguins would surely take coming in. Yet, the Penguins game 2 loss has a lot to dissect and certainly had its share of controversies: What Went Wrong Early Again? The Penguins fell into the trap again of chasing the game and it was deja vu with the same issues. Poor reads in being too aggressive with the D-men pinching haunted the Penguins (with no forwards covering) in Washington getting out in transition. The Capitals exploiting the Penguins over-aggressiveness in pinching was something that stood out late in the regular season as a problematic area that could backfire for the Penguins against the right team. It wasn’t much of an issue in round 1Read More »

Game 1 Analysis: Penguins elevating their play in high pressure situations continued against the Capitals

 

Penguins 3 – Capitals 2 (PIT LEADS SERIES, 1-0) GAME LEADERS PIT Matt Murray | 32 Saves, .941 SV% PIT Jake Guentzel | Goal, 2 Assists PIT Sidney Crosby | Goal, Assist WSH Alex Ovechkin | Goal, Assist WSH Evgeny Kuznetsov | Goal GAME 1 ANALYSIS Matt Murray is a 2-time Stanley Cup Champion goaltender who thrives in pressure situations. Braden Holtby is not. The Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals in Game 1 turned out to be ‘Groundhog Day’ for Washington. Braden Holtby shutout the Penguins through the first forty minutes and Alex Ovechkin scored 28 seconds into the third period to put the Capitals ahead 2-0. Things were surely trending to be the Capitals night with a 2-0 lead in the third and a game Washington absolutely had to take advantage of with Pittsburgh missing Evgeni Malkin. But, the game would turn out to be howRead More »

Pens – Capitals Series Buzz: Evgeni Malkin’s Availability, Potential Effectiveness in playing through injury in a Toss-Up Series

 

Evgeni Malkin’s Availability/Potential Effectiveness Makes Penguins-Capitals even more of a toss-up Penguins – Capitals is a clear toss-up as the two rivals meet for the third straight year. Evgeni Malkin’s availability makes it even more of a toss-up. The Penguins three most important players towards repeating is Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Matt Murray. The Penguins can’t lose one of them for an extended period. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on Wednesday officially ruled out Malkin and Carl Hagelin for Game 1. Hagelin is going to miss multiple games in the series, if not the whole series, that’s the Penguins mindset going in, sources say. Evgeni Malkin is more of a wildcard. A league source with knowledge of the situation says Malkin has an injury that would sideline for at least growing belief Malkin will return to the lineup somewhere between The good news for the Penguins is that the teamRead More »

Round 2: Will this year finally be different for the Capitals?

 

Penguins – Capitals Meet Again in Round 2 With a 6-3 win in Game 6 over the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday night, the Washington Capitals won four straight to punch their ticket to another second-round matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Will this year be any different? Everyone knows the history……. The Penguins have won nine of 10 series vs the Capitals and are 3-0 in the Sidney Crosby era with the Capitals losing two Game 7’s on home-ice by a combined 8-2 score. Last year seemed like the year the Capitals should have finally got the job done. Pittsburgh was without their No. 1 goaltender, No. 1 defenseman and even lost Sidney Crosby to injury for Game 4. Yet in Penguins fashion when these two teams get together, Pittsburgh won Game 4 without Crosby to go up 3-1 in the series, then lost control of the series as the CapitalsRead More »

Penguins Advance: On Jake Guentzel Sinking the Flyers, Pittsburgh’s 3rd Pairing Woes, Crosby – Giroux

 

Game 6 Analysis Nine Straight Playoff Series Wins, three more to go for a Penguins Three-Peat to be complete. Jake Guentzel scored 4 goals and added an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Philadelphia Flyers 8-5 on Sunday afternoon to advance to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Penguins in ousting the Flyers in six games, scored six unanswered goals to close out the game after being on the ropes and trailing 4-2 in the second period. How special was Guentzel’s big-time performance? — While Jake Guentzel produced a five point game in a winning effort, Sean Couturier became just the second player in NHL history to record five points in a playoff game and have his team lose. Couturier playing with a torn MCL had a hat trick and two assists. Couturier was sensational in the series, especially considering the circumstances of his injury, finishing with 5 goals andRead More »