Penguins Ground Capitals Offensive Attack When it Mattered
The Washington Capitals had some bad luck in this series.
It’s not just the underlying numbers that say it but the eye test also showed it.
In Game 7, though, there was no bad luck hovering around the Capitals.
The Pittsburgh Penguins just wanted it more and looked like a team that’s been there before.
“I don’t think the urgency was there,” said Alex Ovechkin, who is now 0-3 all-time against Pittsburgh and 3-7 in Game 7’s during his career.
Stunning omission from Ovechkin who was a non-factor for a Capitals team that had so much on the line.
Ovechkin wasn’t the only Capital stating the facts that Washington didn’t play with urgency despite being on the stage of a Game 7.
Again with the Capitals, something just isn’t right here with how good and talented they often are, yet, they haven’t even gotten over the hump of the second round during the Alex Ovechkin era.
The Capitals looked so passive at times defensively, they were playing scared to make a mistake, and offensively they looked to be pressing with chances in tight during the first two periods.
“Last year, we were in a close game, played well in Game 6 and [lose in] overtime,” said goaltender Braden Holtby……. “I think tonight, I don’t think we gave ourselves a chance and we’re going to have to live with that and take full responsibility for that. It’s not what we worked for.”
The Stunning development in Game 7 wasn’t the Penguins coming out on top but how little push there was from the Capitals in the third period.
The Penguins locked down defensively but also kept pushing offensively.
As the clock kept ticking in the third, Pittsburgh looked like a world class boxer who smelled defeat in their opponent. That could have been at the minimum, a two or three goal period for the Penguins.
“You can see they have the pedigree of a Cup champion,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said afterwards of the Penguins.
Shots on goal by the Capitals in third:
3:50 (Karl Alzner)
6:01 (Dmitry Orlov)
13:19 (Evgeny Kuznetsov)
15:04 (John Carlson)
19:05 (T.J. Oshie)
19:51 (Alex Ovechkin)
The Capitals down 2-0 after the Patric Hornqvist goal , went over 7 minutes without a shot during one stretch and then 4:01 without a shot during another.
Pittsburgh held Ovechkin, who had 3 shots in the first two periods, to 0 shots for the first 19:51 of the third period.
What can’t get overlooked is how the Penguins neutralized Nicklas Backstrom in Game 7.
Backstrom in Games 5 and 6, elevated his game in the third period but not tonight.
0 shots on goal in the game and just 2 attempts.
Penguins Got Back to winning the Neutral Zone
Key adjustments for the Penguins in Game 7 was a critical one in winning the neutral zone, something they badly needed to happen and led to the Penguins counter-punching from the middle of the ice more often.
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