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The Afternoon Narrative: Pens’ Lines and D, Mr. Game 6 and Past as Prologue

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

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

1. The Pens look to be shaking up their lines ahead of Game 6, and will be down a blueliner:

Back to those lines, here (via SuperWOWY) is how they performed during the regular season:

Obviously, this moves spreads the Pens’ top talent among three lines (as opposed to two), much like Barry Trotz did with the Caps’ lines prior to Game 5, but splitting Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel breaks up a duo that has been dangerous throughout the series. And while that “HBK” line was a revelation in last year’s playoffs (including against the Caps), they struggled mightily during the 2016-17 campaign.

Do these lines last the night? We’ll see.

As for the Caps...

2. Today’s Noon Number focused on Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby and how they’ve played pretty darn well when the chips are down. There was also a mention of Justin Williams’ tendency to do so, but here’s some more on Mr. Game Seven’s clutch-ness in Game Six as well:

He's been no slouch in Game 6, either. The Capitals will certainly be counting on his big-game experience as they face elimination -- again -- in Game 6 of their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

In his first Game 6, as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2003, Williams netted the game-winning goal and also provided two assists against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has only continued to provide those timely performances since 2012, when he won the first of two Cups with the Los Angeles Kings.

Since the start of the 2013 playoffs, Williams has scored four goals and three assists in four Game 7s. His Game 6 exploits are an equally impressive -- seven goals and eight assists in 11 games. That clutch postseason play is one of the main reasons the perennial postseason-underachiever Capitals signed Williams as a free agent in 2015.

Here’s how Williams’ last Game 6 ended:

We’ll take it.

3. You’ve got the last word, Coach Trotz: