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Insider Only Game 7 Series Buzz: Can Penguins halt the Capitals momentum?

Game 7 Series Buzz

Will the Penguins all-time record on the road in Game 7’s improve to 6-0 after tonight?

The Penguins might not have momentum in the series anymore but Game 7’s in hockey are not easy to predict.

Who rises to the moment and who doesn’t is what determines who comes out on top of what is a one game playoff tonight.

With the way the last two games have gone, we should see very early where this game is going to trend.

Teams that score the first goal in Game 7’s are 124-42 all-time.

For Pittsburgh, how they start is going to tell the story with how the Capitals have taken over the series since the third period of Game 5.

Pittsburgh needs to strike early or at least establish their pace in carrying the play and start to get in the Capitals heads again.

A strong start from Marc Andre Fleury might be most important thing tonight for the Penguins that needs to happen. Fleury has allowed 8 goals on the last 39 shots he’s faced. If the Capitals get to him early, the Penguins are doomed.

What can’t be overlooked for the Penguins is that they have proven time after time under Mike Sullivan to be able to rise to the occasion. Tonight is the biggest test of them all as last post-season Pittsburgh was never outplayed like this.

Washington has shown some championship pedigree in how they’ve forced a seven game in the manner they have in taking over the series, but they still have to finish the job.

How they handle the pressure tonight will be fascinating to watch.

Their high-end players are really going right now but no one will be talking about Game 5 and Game 6 if they come up small tonight.

— The Penguins coming off two straight losses, will make a couple lineup changes tonight for Game 7.

Carter Rowney will draw into the lineup for Tom Kuhnhackl and Scott Wilson is also under consideration to get in, for who, is not known.

The headline this morning for the Penguins is Matt Murray out since the start of the playoffs, is progressing and “healthy enough” to dress tonight as the backup, Mike Sullivan said.

This is a good dynamic for the Penguins to have.

Although Murray has not even participated yet in a full-team practice, if the Penguins fall down a couple goals early, it won’t be a surprise to see Sullivan go to him.

Big picture, Murray returning is a big development for the Penguins for the third round if they get past the Capitals tonight.

Pressure not even on Marc Andre Fleury to close out the Capitals tonight but to play well enough and keep Murray on the bench if the Penguins advance.

— GAME 7 Numbers —

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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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