Series Buzz: Will cracks in the Penguins game finally haunt them in Round 2?
As discussed the other day, the Washington Capitals on paper are more equipped to match up with the Penguins than they were last season and when you factor in the Penguins injury situation with players who were so valuable to Pittsburgh winning last postseason, there’s no excuses for the Capitals not to get the job done and finally breakthrough vs Pittsburgh.
The fascinating thing to watch in this series will be whether those areas the Penguins high-end talent has been able to cover up over the last month or so finally comes to an end.
- The Penguins possession numbers have been average for a long-stretch now but it hasn’t had much of an impact because of Pittsburgh’s ability to create high danger chances near an elite level.
Pittsburgh was at 46% in driving possession vs the Blue Jackets, 2nd-worst mark among the 16 playoff teams in Round 1. Pittsburgh, though, was at 55% in high danger chances, the Blue Jackets at 45%, 3rd worst among the 16 playoff teams. The Grade-A chances is what often wins out.
Washington, though, is a different animal.
Toronto was at 55.3% in high danger chances vs Washington in Round 1. Washington just 44.7%.
Offensively there’s a good chance the Penguins numbers will be right around there again in Round 2 but the Capitals defensively are very good at closing out those key second, third chance opportunities, much better than Columbus in that area and at the other end, Washington also has the type of high-end talent who need just one shot and have more talented players who can bury type of rebound chances Columbus wasn’t able to convert.
This is more likely than not going to be a series where possession starts mattering for the Penguins than it has.
— 2. Does the Penguins blueline finally crack and will struggles on the breakout doom Penguins in Round 2?
Some will say the Penguins were playing with fire last series.
The commitment from the forwards defensively in Games 1 and 2 were at an elite level that hid a lot but games 3-5, the Penguins personnel started to be exposed.
Pittsburgh went from giving up 12 high danger chances combined in Games 1 and 2 to a combined 38 in Games 3-5 (5 vs 5 play).
If the Penguins stick with the Brian Dumoulin – Ron Hainsey pairing to start the series, which based on Wednesday’s practice they will, it’s their best bet to matchup against the Ovechkin line.
The pairing has been above average in limiting high quality chances and the numbers on Hainsey matching up vs Ovechkin have been solid the last couple years.
There’s a lot of focus on Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov as to whether he shows up or not will dictate who wins Round 2 but the Penguins without Kris Letang have a daunting task to contain Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. You can’t blame Ovechkin for the Capitals failures vs the Penguins. He has 10 goals (21 points) in 13 playoff games vs the Penguins.
Backstrom was dynamite vs the Penguins this season, with 4 goals and 8 assists in four games. The Penguins getting consistent back pressure from their forwards on the backend is going to be a must.
How the Penguins withstand the loss of Letang against an elite line like Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie is one of the top storylines that will be fun to watch play out.
The other area with the Penguins blueline is whether the struggles on the breakout can be rectified. It was a big problem vs Columbus that was covered up by the Penguins high-end talent upfront.
Another burning question is how committed Penguin coaches are to the current top-6 on the blueline. There’s still not enough puck movers among the group.
Will Justin Schultz be a factor in the series?
Columbus did an effective job against Justin Schultz with an aggressive forecheck and then shadowing him through the neutral zone up the ice. Washington will have the same playbook. Penguin coaches have to find a way to get Schultz favorable matchups and dictating the transition game.
“They’re a good forechecking team,” Mike Sullivan says of the Capitals. “They can create offense off the rush,” Sullivan said. “They’ve got some dynamic forwards in their lineup and we’re going to have to be aware when they’re on the ice.”
Can Fleury outplay another Vezina Winner?
3. Marc Andre Fleury outplayed a Vezina trophy winner and 16/17 finalist Sergei Bobrovsky in Round 1. Can he really do it again Round 2 vs Braden Holtby, another Vezina winner and finalist this season?
I just don’t see it happening here and it’s much more likely Fleury’s play starts trending down than not but what’s also getting overlooked is Holtby has not been good enough of late vs the Penguins.
There’s pressure on both goaltenders in this series.
For Washington they have the goaltending edge coming in and Holtby needs to back it up with a better blueline behind him this season. Last year in Round 2 he was good but not good enough as Matt Murray slightly outplayed him.
Round 1 vs Toronto, Holtby was good in posting a .925 save percentage but he can be better. Holtby allowed 4 goals in three straight games (2-4) with the Capitals going 1-2 during that stretch. He was lights out in Games 5 and 6.
Over his last 12 games vs the Penguins (including playoffs), Holtby has a .909 save percentage.
Fleury, meanwhile, had an .889 save percentage vs the Capitals this season. Matt Murray’s s not close to returning and this will certainly be Marc Andre Fleury’s series.
If Pittsburgh finds a way to take out Washington, then a storybook ending for Fleury may happen after all and his tenure in Pittsburgh could even get extended.
The Penguins have always assumed Fleury would be gracious in one way or another and not use his no movement clause to block the Penguins from being able to protect Matt Murray in June’s expansion draft.
A league source says don’t be so sure.
One scenario that hasn’t got talked about enough is [hide] if Fleury leads the Penguins on a deep run back to the Stanley Cup Final, the door then opens for Fleury not to be so willing to move on like so many, including the Penguins, have assumed.
Series Prediction: Capitals in 5 games.
— A tightly contested series that could have easily went seven games see’s things for once not go the Penguins way and Washington breaks through in getting past the Penguins by winning the type of games that went the Penguins way last season in Round 2 with timely goals and better goaltending — [/hide]
Holtby was better than Fleury. Over seven games and .820 save percentage from Fleury, Holtby wins it easy. I’d start Jarry in game 2
Are you trying to jinx the situation?
Probably making fun of your 2 board personalities….D and Yoda. I guess without Sam and Yoda, this site would be dead….so good job keeping your board alive.
I hope it’s jinxed I’d rather someone else win the cup if Fleury was in net
What the Steelers need is a White outside linebacker with bad knees.
Btw, loved Kunutz game. Dude is such a good hockey player.
He’s a perfect fit in that 4th line role.
Yup, but he’ll take shifts on Geno’s line before series is over. As soon as Sullivan put Phil bs I with Bones
Holtby didn’t come up big at all. Vezina goalies aren’t supposed to get burnt by 3rd line centers with the game on the line. I’ll take it!
Clearly should’ve went with the poke check #TearItDown
Where do you come up with this bullshit?
I think it’s safe to assume on the off week geno drank a 6 pack every day while he was cooking burgers on the grill. He was a turnover machine.
Are you kidding me he was amazing just ask npl. And about the turnover machine he does that on nightly basis but as soon as he has a point bandwagon fans don’t see that
Same goes to ZeroFool when it comes about sheary. He is a turnover machine on a nightly basis and has always problem covering him guy. But as soon as he has a point all thanks to Crosby zerofool cumss in his pants. Hey zero how is sheary doing without sid?
About the same as the rest of the team you brown eye. The Penguins got out played bad yesterday outside of the quick strikes. Many you are fucken dumb. For a guy that simply claims to see things others ignore in favour of a boxscore you really fuckk this up a lottttt
Holtby 0, the Saint 1. All hail! These past two games have been the saints best two performances in years. Am I converted into being a believer….F no but as of right now I’ll take it.
Crosby was dominant.
Caps in the next 4 and take the series in 5.
Don’t be an idiot dusty. That could still happen
Don’t jinx it A hole. The ticking time bomb could explode at any second. Don’t plan your Stanley cup parade after winning game 1 in round 2
Thought that was Malkin’s best game. Tough when your line mate is Phil “I play a 30-foot game” Kessel.
You’re kidding right? You thought Malkin was good last night?
I may have to apologize to Mrs Hainsey. Ron was good tonight. Kessel on the other hand, bag of shiit.
Bimmini with a huge goal. Yoda MIA….go figure. Get greedy and get 2 in DC.
That Caps in 5 prediction is looking pretty shltty. Who knew??!!
Fleury traded yet?
Have you learned how to use a period?
Malkin has been a disaster tonight lol… even the potential clear was thwarted by him. He needs mommas borscht
According to expert npl malkin and his line been amazing
They were impressive early. Clearly not so much after the first.
So, Sid was good for two shifts… not a lot from him since either. Reality is the whole team went to sleep after the 2-0 goal. They were happy trying to protect
Holy fuckk… MAF, MAF, MAF, MAF
Holy mother fukk
Amish scores and orpigg suckss just like npl suckkss dickss on daily basis
Are you a sssssnake?
Hey same, how been Bimini fraud all playoff since last year cuz Tampa bay?
Bonino bonino bonino bonino nick boninoooooooooo
How is sheary doing in this playoffs. ZeroFool. According to you he must be good based on points
He has 2 points so far you fucken moron. So while he is clearly off you still managed to fuckk this up. You’re stupidity has become legend… wait for it… dary!
Better than pretty much anyone in Montreal. That’s for sure.
Too much east fucking west shit right now
Too many lazy passengers in pens lineup tonight
Pen size back to suck mode. Crosby lazy again
SHEARY please mark your man
really B*IT*C*H is bad word?
How bad does Hainsey look.
Listening to Lange and 29er, what do they have against Malkin all they do is bitch about Malkin. Think they are related to Sam?
That was the worst game I’ve seen from Geno this year. He’ll back to normal, dominating Geno on Saturday though.
How did our Russian looked on that ovi goal.
Better than that sentence structure
Yep. Not even close.
This is where Maloni blames Fleury because he’s “played the game”
Seen that coming, Pens don’t look to good since the second goal.
Sam. How slow does letang look
As slow as his mentor Scuderi
Why does nobody bring up holtbys rebound control?!
Two 5v5 goals
Sid is now even in +/-.
Trade sid. Stain
Where is malkin….
When does Sid show?
12 seconds into the 2nd period
That was the preview. The Sid Show has officially begun. Wow.
Get fuckedd piece of shitt you bandwagon. Always make fun of sid
Lol youre such a girl
You still haven’t figured out that 90% of that is just because you you keep Sids balls nestled in your mouth while shitting all over anyone on the team not named Crosby, Letang or Fleury?
LOL so he did 🙂
Sams probably thrilled the Montreal game doesnt conflict with the NFL Draft tonight
Who will the alouttes take
You sure hope so you little gaybo
Letang looks slow.
How bad does Hainsey look you guys
Sam is so confused.
The French Confusion
That seems like overkill.
The Malkin line has looked impressive. Have the Pens been on the powerplay this whole time?
Kuznetsov looks good.
So does kucherov while bashing his team. I guess our Tampax boy npl is not aware of that
Because Im a Pens fan dummytits
Tampa isn’t playing you Montreal retard.
Yup, he called out his team for getting money and shutting off… most of that directed at Killorn. If this was reveresed you’d be calling Kucherov a fraud you simpleton lol
Yogurt thinks the guybrhw filled his ass with dead babies is a liability!
Yogurt is upset the “saint” left him with a dry assshole
If only pens had scuderi
If only the Habs were still playing…with your dick
So D and Ron Cook pick the Caps. Now feeling much better.
Even .770 would make me happy
I am a penguins fan but I’m rooting for the caps putting pucks in the net tonight. If we see a save percentage of less than .749 from Fleury, I think there is something we can all appreciate about that.
Malkin said today he is fine with Crosby / ovi hype and added he likes to be quiet. If course he will say that always good to hide behind sid and not produce 5v5 and show up occasionally on pp
Malkin is a +7 in 5 playoff games. Hes clearly terrible 5v5. #FrenchDumbass
He gets owned on every post.
You’re owned sam.
MAF will be the MVP for round 2, with Sid and Geno just behind. Buckle up, Penguins in 6.
Really don’t like the idea of splitting up the sheary guentzel crosby line. just too productive to split up IMO
Same here. Of all the adjustments that could be made, that would be at the bottom of the list. I could see this first game being a bit rough, or at least the start of it
Don’t worry if sully has to change back the line he will do it. He can do in game adjustments his not DB
That scum sully with his darn adjustments
It’s because if they shut down sid line your other lines will shut down too since they can’t play 5v5. Just ask the Russian and chubby
Yea Jeff, ask them how their brutal 5v5 play has led them to a combined +14 in 5 playoff games. Thats nowhere near Sids incredible -2.
caps in 5 sounds about right. the pens will have one big game and win 5-4. other than that, with no letang and with your backup goalie in net, the odds are not good to beat the caps.
If they go out in 5, think about how good that is for you though. You can immediately get back to pursuing your boy. See if he’ll sling you that D one more time you little catcher you.
Yoda actually cheered for the Pens just long enough for his internet lover to write this garbage article pandering to his only fan lol.
keep on believing in your saint. he already made his miracle move this postseason with his halo save in overtime. it would be unwise to expect another miracle against a team that is much better than the blue jackets.
Keep throwing the shit yoda… like NPL said didnt you say Pens in 6 yesterday? moron
i changed my mind. the more i thought about it, it’s just a guarantee that the saint will melt down. it sucks.
Melt down in your ass and or mouth.
You couldn’t even sit down yogurt.
So you got Pens in 6 and Caps in 5? #MothaFuckinProphet
i changed my mind. the meltdown is inevitable. it’s going to suck.
Prophets arent typically unsure of future events. Are you sure youre a #mothafuckinprophet?
If pens lose in five, it’ll probably be Ron Hainsey’s fault.
Is Chorney still on the Caps?
Jesus Christ D… I guess the Leafs were a better team this year…
Missing Letang is gonna be a bigger issue but so far this year we have a lot of other things going for the team that were not there last year which will hopefully make up for missing Letang. Shattenkirk hasn’t really done much to improve the Caps either.
It’s probably a toss up at this point but I’m thinking 7 games either way
What I’ll say about letang missing … yawn. Happens constantly. Guy is almost retired. leafs didn’t have Letang either. They fared ok. And they don’t have 87, 81, 59 and 71. Yes. I just did that.
Letang also averaged 31 minutes per game against Washington last year and had a great series. It’s going to be an issue.
It might be. Not having letang sure didn’t stop Toronto from repeatedly taking them to OT though. That’s my only point.
And shutting down ovi. The way scuderi was suppose to do
TIOPS is fake news. Pens in 6.
Your hillary is fake news
Does Hillary report the news now? Interesting.
Hagelin is practicing in a regular jersey.
I call BS. D said he was having setbacks and he and Murray were out long term.
Penguins in 5 — BOOK IT