NHL Playoffs: Penguins take 2-0 lead over Capitals

Washington Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt (88) falls on the ice between Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel (81) and right wing Bryan Rust (17) during the second period of Game 1 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round. Braden Holtby has given up 22 goals on 248 shots faced and Philipp Grubauer have allowed two goals on nine shots.

Guentzel made it 3-1 with 3:46 left in the period when he kept the puck on a two-on-one and fired under Holtby's glove from the right circle for his sixth goal of the playoffs. The pressure was on them before this series even started - being down 1-0 is just going to intensify that. Malkin leads the playoffs with 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists). Holtby has responded well in games after being pulled this season, including back-to-back shutouts on one occasion and a string of eight consecutive victories on another.

I just don't think a regression will doom this team. "He's a game-changer for us and so when he didn't change the game, I just looked to change the mojo there a little bit, that's all".

"He was a threat all night", Penguins center Matt Cullen said.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Senators - Pageau scored four times on Saturday, including the game-winner in Ottawa's double-overtime win against the Rangers. "What was said is what needed to be said". Game 2 of the series featured matching hat tricks between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin in one of the most memorable games in playoff history. Crosby previously blocked a shot on the other end, only to race down and get the puck. They gave up two first-period goals in the opener against Toronto, then rallied to win that game (and the series).

"Braden Holtby has got to be way better", Olczyk said. "But the playoffs are made of big moments". "That 3rd goal, that's a big moment". The Penguins goalie situation in 2017 ended up happening the exact same as 2016, just totally in reverse.

Washington has lost in the second round of the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and now has an uphill battle to avoid the same fate in 2107 after losing the opening two games at home.

Nearly four minutes into the third period, Washington's Nicklas Backstrom scored to make the game more interesting at 4-2, but then Malkin got on the stat sheet with a goal that was originally called no-good before being successfully challenged and overturned.

Prior to Game 2, Trotz slammed his fist down on the podium and declared that starting Saturday, Washington had to be the better team.

We know the Pens are going to need to walk the line with the officials because the Caps power play is lethal. The event ended on that exact note, with the playing of the Rolling Stones song, "You Can't Always Get What You Want", a fan favorite from the campaign trail.

"That's leadership", Trotz said of the meeting.

It continued a trend that existed in Game 1 as well as in the series against Columbus, which routinely watched early-game shot surges go to waste. Holtby's struggles have looked even worse when compared to how Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has played, stopping 34 shots in Game 2 as the Capitals again significantly outshot the Penguins. He scored goals on his first two shots in his National Hockey League debut. While six PPGs through eight games isn't the worst thing in the world, Washington is getting plenty of opportunities, and they can not capitalize on all of them.

Or, because it never helps to avoid the reality of your situation, the Caps will be down two to nothing and the Legacy of the Ovechkin Era, as well as the Year of the Last Best Chance, suddenly will be on the line heading to Pittsburgh.

  • Julie Sanders