clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Afternoon Narrative: Alzner’s Return, Game Flow and Crosby/Sheary Updates

Three things we’re talking about this afternoon when we’re talking about the Caps

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. Karl Alzner drew back into the Caps’ lineup for Game 3, and he was... okay. Here are the five-on-five numbers, via Natural Stat Trick:

He played well with John Carlson and the top line, for the most part, less so with the second line, and was pretty even against evenly spread opposition. He also successfully killed 5:25 of Pittsburgh power plays.

But he was undressed by Conor Sheary (and bailed out by Daniel Winnik) halfway through the first period:

Then, in the final two minutes of the game, he was out to protect a 2-0 lead:

Alzner is engaged in an exchange of crosschecks with Patric Hornqvist in front of the net, then tries (in vain) to get out to Evgeni Malkin to disrupt his shot. In doing so, he screens Braden Holtby (watch Holtby try to peer around Alzner) and doesn’t block the shot. Not ideal, but given his position, had Holtby been tighter on his post, the Caps probably would’ve had Malkin’s shot options pretty well-covered.

What’s the plan with Alzner going forward? Seven defensemen again (now that we know Matt Niskanen has served his time for his Game 3 wrongdoing)? A more regular shift? Who knows.

2. Unlike in Games 1 and 2 of the series, the five-on-five shot attempts were pretty close for most of the game (especially once the Caps let the Pens catch up after Evgeny Kuznetsov’s tally):

via Natural Stat Trick

Perhaps most notably, the pace of Game 3 (111.4 shot attempts per sixty, per Natural Stat Trick), at five-on-five, was lower than in Games 1 (120.2) and 2 (a ridiculous track meet at 137.0), and much more in the Caps’ comfort zone. Yes, the Caps had a smaller edge in shot metrics across the board. But they also yielded fewer odd-man breaks, and that’s probably a trade-off Barry Trotz is willing to make, especially the way Braden Holtby played.

3. Finally, updates on injured Pens Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary:

Get well soon, fellas.