Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Capitals tied the game...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to finish off the Washington Capitals in Game 6 on Tuesday night here at Consol Energy Center, but the visiting team has thoughts of bringing this series back home for seven.
Here’s what to watch for in Game 6, which begins at 8 p.m. ET:
The Capitals were able to keep their top line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie mostly away from Sidney Crosby in Game 5 because they had last line change. They won’t have it Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
Kuznetsov says he’s ready for the challenge if he does indeed find Crosby across from him.
"I would like to make a funny answer but it’s not the time for jokes right now,’’ said Kuznetsov with a smile when asked about the Crosby matchup. "If we play our game, it doesn’t matter against who we play. All four of their centermen are pretty good. Somebody thinks Matt Cullen is a fourth-line center, but he’s got lots of goals, he’s played pretty well. So we just have to play our game. Today, we don’t have to look against who we play.’’
Having the last line change is an opportunity for the Penguins to put No. 87’s unit on Kuznetsov if they want, although Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan is also cognizant of not chasing matchups that could affect the natural flow of his four-line rotation.
via NBC Sports Group press release,
PENGUINS-CAPITALS GAME 5 ON NBC IS SECOND-MOST WATCHED NON-STANLEY CUP FINAL NHL PLAYOFF GAME SINCE 1993
Saturday’s primetime presentation of Game 5 between the Penguins and Capitals on NBC (7:08-11:05 p.m. ET) is the second-most watched non-Stanley Cup Final game on record (since 1993), averaging 4.164 million viewers. The game also posted a 2.40 HH rating, making it the second-highest rated non-Stanley Cup Final game ever on NBC (since 2006). Saturday night’s game trails only last year’s Western Conference Final Game 7 matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks on NBC in both categories (5/30/15; 4.601 million viewers and 2.61 HH rating).
- Through all available games on NBC, the playoffs have posted 1.983 million average viewers (up 8% from NBC’s comparable coverage of the playoffs last year);
- Pittsburgh – Game 5 produced a 19.8 rating in Pittsburgh to rank as the highest-rated Penguins game on NBC in the market since the 2013 Eastern Conference Final (6/1/13; 23.2);
- Washington D.C. – Game 5 produced a 7.7 rating in Washington D.C. to rank as the highest-rated Capitals game on NBC in the market since the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. Boston (4/22/12; 8.7);
- NBC was the No. 1 network in both Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. during the game.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
This is as bad as it’s been in quite a while for the Penguins.
They’ve lost a game.
One in a row.
Not exactly a streak. More like a smudge.
Still, it matches their longest skid of the past four months, since they dropped consecutive games to Carolina and Tampa Bay — both in overtime — Jan. 12-15.
What’s more, they haven’t suffered three consecutive losses since dropping five in a row Dec. 11-19, the final four of which were Mike Sullivan’s first four after replacing Mike Johnston as coach.
All that is noteworthy because Washington will have to beat them for the second consecutive time in Game 6 at 8:10 p.m. today at Consol Energy Center to extend this second-round playoff series to a Game 7.
And to claim a spot in the Eastern Conference final opposite Tampa Bay, the Capitals would have to close out this best-of-seven against the Penguins with three victories in a row.
The Capital defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 to force a game 6 on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Braden Holtby was outstanding.
from Tom Gulitti of NHL.com,
1. PLAY WITH URGECNY
The Capitals are looking to come back from a 3-1 deficit for the third time in their history and first time since their 2009 first-round series against the New York Rangers. If they don't win Saturday their season is over. That should be all the motivation they need to come up with their best game of the playoffs.
Although the Penguins have won the past three games, they don't want to take anything for granted. They also were up 3-1 against the Rangers in the first round and finished that series in five games. They'd like to do the same against the Capitals.
"When you have a team in that situation you want to make the most of the opportunity," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said Saturday. "We have to have the same type of approach as we would with any other playoff game, but just understand the situation and know what to expect."
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Crosby has one assist in the series. Ovechkin has one goal. But because the Pens have won three of four, Crosby’s lack of production isn’t as meaningful as Ovechkin’s.
Washington’s No. 8 is getting lots of shots, and lots of hits, and even got away with a nasty slash to Crosby’s hands in Game 4. It’s not like he has been invisible or uninvolved.
But if the Caps go down, none of that will matter. Ovechkin will attract more than his fair share of the blame, which is what happens when you make the big bucks and wear the “C.”
All that will matter is that once again, Washington won’t have made it past the second round of the Stanley Cup tournament, something the franchise hasn’t done since 1998.
This was supposed to happen very differently this spring. GM Brian MacLellan went out of his way to add personnel like ex-Kings Justin Williams and Richards, players who understood the difference between playoff success and failure and how to help Washington get out of its cycle of playoff disappointment.
It is a testament to the greatness of Ovechkin and to the greatness of his rival with the Penguins, Crosby, that we can debate the notion of legacy in these rare head-to-head confrontations.
And even though the scorecard historically has been dominated by Crosby, what makes Saturday so compelling is that Ovechkin has it within his grasp to draft a new script, to defy the past.
Just as he has had those opportunities in the past but could not change the narrative.
-Scott Burnside of ESPN where you can read more on Crosby/Ovechkin.
Game 5 is tomorrow night in Washington and the Penguins will win the series 4-1 with a victory.
Capitals winger Tom Wilson says they’ll continue to pound the rock and play the brand of hockey that got them to the top, because you have to win four games to advance.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"We're going to stress the positives in a couple ways,'' Trotz said Thursday. "You just have to worry about winning the next game. We were in a reverse situation last year where, you know, in Game 5 we had a team basically pretty well down and out, and they threw a puck to the net and it hits one of our defensemen, goes in and they end up winning in overtime and that sort of changed it. Right now, everything's come a little harder for us. Pitt's doing a really good job. I'm not going to take anything away from them. ...
"But we have to find another way to not really reinvent the game, but just execute better, be a little sharper. If we get a chance to score, we've got to bury our chances. Those are the things that are going to matter, and then we've got to stay with it. You've got to have the belief that if you win one -- win the first period, keep going. If you win one, then things can change. I mean, we were prime candidates to see it firsthand in the Rangers series last year. Hopefully, all we can do is just look at the game in front of us and just take it from there."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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