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Insider Only Game 3 Series Buzz: Jobs on the line tonight for Washington

Game 3 Pre-Game

Are jobs on the line tonight for Washington?

If they lose in Game 3 to go down 0-3 that leads to a quick exit, how can the team bring Barry Trotz back? He was brought in to get the Capitals over the hump in the playoffs and this would be three straight years of not advancing past the second round.

A round 2 exit and a lot of eyes would also be on the center position with Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov in that the Capitals have to do something and move one of them.

Year after year Backstrom and Kuznetsov are getting outplayed in the playoffs from Derek Stepan and the Rangers to Pittsburgh last post-season and the Penguins again through two games.

— One former NHL assistant coach on Barry Trotz pulling Braden Holtby in Game 2.

“He punted the game,” the coach said of Trotz.

All eyes are on Holtby tonight to get the Capitals back in the series.

Much of the talk surrounding Holtby is how the Penguins have identified a weakness with Holtby’s glove hand.

If anything, Holtby looks like a goaltender whose confidence is just shaken that has him off his angle and it’s led to Pittsburgh’s elite shooters smelling blood and smoking him glove side.

Mike Sullivan on lack of net-front presence for Game 3 if Patric Hornqvist doesn’t play tonight:

“I think we’re preaching to all of our guys to get to the net. That’s sound hockey, create scoring chances. Get in sight lines, limit mobility, make it difficult.”

Conor Sheary last post-season began to hit a wall in the conference finals that led to him being a healthy scratch in a Game 5 loss. He returned to the lineup in Game 6 and got rejuvenated a bit the final two games of the series and early in the Stanley Cup Final where he scored in Games 1 and 2 vs the Sharks.

Sheary would be scratched tonight if the Penguins weren’t banged up at forward.

He is so much in Mike Sullivan’s dog house right now, Sullivan benched Sheary minutes into Game 2 but was forced to keep playing Sheary due to the Patric Hornqvist injury.

Sheary, though, played just 8:50 in Game 2.

There’s still a lot of hockey to be played and could be two more rounds for the Penguins, but if this is the Sheary the Penguins get the rest of the post-season, it will obviously give the Penguins some pause and impact talks on a new deal this summer.

Pittsburgh had viewed Sheary as a $3 million a year player next season if the sides reached a short-term deal.

If the Penguins decide to commit to all three key pending RFA’s on deals ranging three years or more, the Penguins in fact have been bracing for new deals for Justin Schultz, Conor Sheary and Brian Dumoulin to tie up potentially $11-$12 million against the cap for next season.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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