Insert pre recap banter here
The Penguins used the following lines:
GUENTZEL – CROSBY – SIMON
HAGELIN – MALKIN -HORNQVIST
RUST – SHEAHAN – KESSEL
KUHNHACKL – BRASSARD – SHEARY
Both teams started the game off with a lot of hop as this thing had terrific pace from the start. The Capitals had a great look early when the Penguins somehow failed to pick Ovechkin up in the middle of the ice but Murray was able to steer it away. A few seconds later the Capitals made a horrible play of their own and Riley Sheahan had a solid chance but just couldn’t wrap it around Holtby’s pad. The chances were exchanged like this for about a minute until the fourth line got on the ice, Sheary made a good play to win a battle and Derick Brassard swooped in to help him out. Brassard fed Oleksiak at the point while Sheary skated to the crease, Oleksiak fired right as Sheary crossed Holtby’s line of sight and that would be Oleksiak’s first postseason goal of his career.
JAMIE OLEKSIAK Assisted by BRASSARD (3) & SHEARY (3) @ 2:23
Really good shift by the fourth line here as the Caps looked like they were confused that players not named Crosby and Guentzel were possessing the puck.
The Penguins used the goal as momentum and really started to tilt the ice in their favor as all four lines were pressuring the Capitals over and over again but Holtby was coming up large. 7 minutes into the period Niskanen took a holding penalty against Kessel and the Penguins powerplay looked dominant as they possessed the puck in the zone for over 70 straight seconds. The powerplay had multiple looks including a tip by Sid that just stayed out as well as some other looks
Somehow the Caps were able to escape with the penalty kill and we went to 5v5 hockey for 3 minutes until Chad Ruhwedel hooked up Ovechkin. The Capitals powerplay took the ice and the Penguins PK once again took away passing lane after passing lane as they allowed just one shot on the powerplay.
Some breakneck even strength hockey occured in the following 7 minutes as both teams had chances though the Penguins definitely had the ice in their favor but again Holtby was standing on his head. With less than four minutes left the Penguins were getting pressure in the offensive zone until Dominik Simon got his stick under Niskanen and took a tripping penalty. The Caps powerplay took over and for the first half it was once again the Penguins PK stealing the show as Kuhnhackl had a shorthanded look but couldn’t get it to go. The Caps regrouped and eventually found Carlson at the point and he waited until Murray was blocked out just enough to fire a bullet into the top corner.
xxx there are no gifs of the Caps goals and I refuse to put tweets containing video here so just imagine a puck going into the net xxx
Pierre was proud of himself that he knew this was high glove side but it doesn’t matter, a shot like that on the blocker side also goes in.
Off of the following faceoff the puck went into the Pens zone and Oleksiak and Schultz merged on the boards but couldn’t get it out. Instead the Caps won the puck battle and found Brett Connolly in teh middle of the ice, Connolly took a shot that deflected off of Hornqvist and bounced its way onto the net and somehow through Murray’s legs
xxx no gif, did it really happen? xxx
This brought out the “Murray sucks crowd” but a bouncing puck like that is as predictable the weather. With the initial elevation Murray was in perfect position and if you look he has the Five hole just about locked up
If you looked at this picture without knowing the outcome you would assume this puck was saved but because it was bouncing it basically goes through that opening and then falls straight down, thems the ropes.
Two goals in 33 seconds ha the crowd rocking and Brian Dumoulin decided to go into beast mode and draw a penalty with 2 seconds left.
The Penguins didn’t score on the 2 seconds of powerplay time and the period would end 2-1.
The Penguins had 1:58 of carry over powerplay time but apparently they didn’t know it as they played like shit for the first 3 minutes.
Fortunately the Penguins were still good at even strength and once the powerplay expired they started to play again. The Pens started to get a good amount of pressure when the second line was making things happen, Hornqvist had the puck up close and put a shot on that resulted in a juicy rebound, Malkin went for it and Ovechkin had no choice but to take a slash on Geno.
I covered it thoroughly in the gameday, the Caps powerplay had struck, the Penguins powerplay had to match them to wipe out the special advantage battle. The Penguins were moving the puck around and it finally came to Phil Kessel and wouldn’t you know it the son of a bitch finally took a shot and WAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM
CROSBY (9) Assisted by KESSEL (7) & SCHULTZ (6) @ 4:43 PPG
Crosby sneaks behind Niskanen after starting this play at the opposite corner and as soon as Phil shows shot Sid finds himself open. Definitely not an intentional deflection but this should cancel out Connolly’s goal. This was the 66th playoff goal of Crosby’s career as he passes Jagr for 2nd all-time in Penguins history, the leader Lemieux (duh) has 76 fwiw.
Following the goal the game started that same breakneck pace that the first period had at even strength. The Capitals started ramping up the hitting, first it was Malkin getting hit in the defensive zone but he made the play before getting hit springing Carl Hagelin on a mini breakaway that was stopped by Holtby.
Then it was Devante Smith-Pelly filling in the role of dumbass for Tom Wilson as he takes a penalty while trying to finish a check on Dumoulin behind the play, just a stupid move in a tie game when the Penguins had all of the advantage. At this point in the period shots were 8-1 Pittsburgh and they were heading back to the powerplay. They used the first 20 seconds to rest the top line and then brought the big boys out. They gained the zone and put on a passing clinic, eventually the puck was fed by Kessel to Hornqvist in front and you know how that goes
HORNQVIST (5) Assisted by MALKIN (4) & KESSEL (8) @ 7:45 PPG
Orpik and Niskanen leave Malkin and Hornqvist alone in the crease as both players take whacks at this puck, unbelievable lack of awareness by 11 million dollars worth of defensive salary.
Even strength play resumed and it was the Penguins shutting the Caps down along the boards defensively and getting multiple looks offensively. The fourth line took its strong play from the first period and ramped it up to 11, enough can’t be said of how good the Kuhnhackl-Brassard-Sheary line looked at times in this game as they pinned the Caps in their own zone multiple times. Jamie Oleksiak was also playing out of his fucking mind at this point. After what felt like an entire period in the Caps zone the puck finally went out of play and the Capitals spent the entire TV timeout praying to multiple Gods.
The Caps came out of the tv timeout and had their best look of the century but they sent it wide and the Pens retaliated with Crosby putting on a show along the boards and then Malkin almost setting up Hagelin with an empty net but there was too much clutter to get the puck through. Hagelin would accelerate around the net and ole Smith-Pelly was there to take another really bad penalty as he trips Hagelin.
The Penguins second unit started the powerplay and possessed the puck but couldn’t get any dangerous looks as Maatta threw one into Holtby’s chest. The first unit came on and off of the faceoff Crosby was called for hooking and we were heading to 4v4 for almost 90 seconds. Kris Letang played the entire 4v4 session and then stayed on for 30 additional seconds of the Caps powerplay before finally getting a chance to get off the ice. The Caps powerplay would expire and soon after they had a great look but Matt Murray was right where he needed to be.
The Penguins get 18 shots in the period to match the Capitals total through two periods as the Caps get just 5 shots in the 2nd. Can’t wait to here “the fix is in” after an almost too many men on the ice penalty was taken back when the refs recounted and realized it was right many men on the ice. The fix isn’t in, Smith-Pelly was just a fucking idiot in the period. For the third game in a row the Pens were heading to the third with a one goal lead.
The Capitals started the period with some quick shots but the Penguins were able to clear the zone. Following that clear the Caps were coming up the ice and Kris Letang decided to go play on the left side of the ice where Brian Dumoulin was already standing, this left Kuznetsov wide open and he walked right in and tied things up
xxx again no gif but Kuznetsov did that flying eagle celebration again xxx
We mentioned it in the gameday but these two teams are very even and the goals come down to special teams and mistakes. Huge mistake my Letang and suddenly its a tie game with basically an entire period to go.
The Capital fans started a mock “Murray” chant which made complete sense since Murray had allowed the same amount of goals as Holtby, he only thing dumber in the NHL right now is Nashville.
With the game tied and at even strength the play became a little less fluid as there were constant stoppages. Both teams were choking up a bit afraid of making that fatal mistake and as a result there were a ton of offsides and icings. Finally with 12 minutes left the game started to get your heart going again with end to end action for 3 straight minutes, the Cps had some looks but Murray was strong when he needed to be and the defense did a good job of remaining calm and not taking penalties. There was a point when two different Capitals fell down and the entire arena started complaining, for a fanbase that spends their whole existence complaining about the Penguins whining they sure fucking whine a lot.
From the 9 minute mark to the 6 minute mark both teams just let loose and it was the gift that kept giving for anyone who loves hockey. Both teams were getting looks but both goalies were standing their ground. With just under 5 minutes left the Penguins had some pressure and Brian Dumoulin was inches away from putting it in to take the lead but no such luck and instead the Caps went the other way on a 2 on 2. Sheahan took the shot away from Ovechkin and got a stick on the centering pass but Vrana beat Letang to the loose puck and the Caps took a 4-3 lead with 4 minutes left.
xxx puckgoesintonet.gif xxx
The Penguins didn’t back down and with under 3 left Olli Maatta looked like he was going to tie it up but just sent it wide.
The Penguins would pull Murray but before they could get anything set up TJ Oshie was picking Kessel’s pocket and burying it in the empty goal with 1:31 left. The Penguins couldn’t do anything with the remaining 91 seconds and this thing is heading back to Pittsburgh Monday night with the Penguins facing elimination.
Oh, the Caps scored another ENG after I typed that.
- It takes 4 wins, not 3.
- Braden Holtby is the only reason this game wasn’t 7-2 after the second
- Really hard to feel any doubt at the moment with the way the Penguins played this game on the road, tough to think another effort like that at home on Monday night will result in a loss
- Is it just me or have the last two games been really fun hockey to watch? Maybe it’s because they are actually playing hockey?
TO BAN OR NOT TO BAN Total Voters: 37
TO BAN OR NOT TO BAN
Total Voters: 37