Prior to the start of the 2016-17 season, the National Hockey League instituted a new concussion protocol, as first reported by Elliotte Friedman. Penguins-Capitals has established brands, big markets and marquee stars, everything NBC loves to televise when it comes to hockey.
The switch also freed up Washington's other skill players to take advantage of less-adept defensemen. It's also the last time Washington advanced past the second round of the playoffs. That's when those possession stats really start to matter. They've controlled the puck, been more patient and made timely adjustments. After all, that's what makes them the best in the world at what they do. Obviously, if the Caps can't even things up in this game, it's over for the team once favored to win the whole tournament. Washington scored in every period, scored twice on the power play, was flawless on the penalty kill, and needed just 26 shots on goal to score five times. Despite all their skill, Washington is disgusting when it comes to 4-on-4 play. How many goals have they given up?
After Game 1 against Pittsburgh, Kuznetsov told a handful of reporters that Malkin asked him a question on the ice, and since he considers himself a "kind of nice person", Kuznetsov tried to provide an answer in between plays.
What Pittsburgh should not be concerned about is playing in a Game 7. We know that we're going to have to play probably our best game of the series to beat them in the seventh game at home.
It goes without saying, but the Penguins (or any hockey team for that matter) can not win without shooting the puck. A three-time Cup victor, Williams is 7-0 with seven goals and seven assists in seven chances in Game 7. The Pittsburgh superstar has a history of head injuries, yet he returned to playoff hockey - where the referees swallow their whistles and let "hockey plays" happen with aplomb - to try to win another Stanley Cup. The problem wasn't that Holtby was playing poorly, but he wasn't stealing any games for the Caps either.
In this case, the players and teams have to be saved from themselves. It had been.889 heading into Game 5.
The series and game will come down to resiliency; which team will put their past behind them and focus on one game.
The shot disparity between the two teams has been a topic of conversation throughout. Not once, but twice between the 2009 and 2016 Stanley Cups, the Penguins blew 3-1 series leads and lost (at home) in Game 7. Not all shots are created equal. He most certainly got it. One of the major factors in Washington's turnaround to this point has been better shot selection.
The Caps forced a Game 7 with a dominant 5-2 win in Pittsburgh on Monday.
And never has a game revealed how much the Penguins miss defenseman Kris Letang. "The shot (count) is an indication of that". They are being more selective, more patient and getting better quality shots.
"I've got to believe that (the momentum from Game 6 is) going to roll over, that they're finally sick and exhausted of hearing that they haven't gone to the third round and will break through", Boudreau said. I'm sure that you could poll 100 people, and 99 of them would say they'd rather play at home.
Guentzel spoiled Holtby's shutout bid when he scored off a two-on-one break at 16:38, and Malkin followed at 17:30, both goals coming during four-on-four play.
In the past two games, the Pittsburgh Penguins have had the Washington Capitals on the brink of elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs. They need to stay loose, stay aggressive and not play tentatively.
The Pittsburgh Penguins appeared to have everything under control.
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