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Capitals vs. Penguins Recap: One Not Enough as Pens Tie Series with 2-1 Win

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The Capitals were a lethargic team in the first 40 minutes, lucky to be down by just a 1-0 score. The teams exchanged goals in the third period, enough for the Pens to tie the series.

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One team brought the same level of offensive intensity they displayed in Game 1 into Game 2. The other did not. Unfortunately for the Caps, they were the ones who could not maintain a high level of pressure on offense as the Penguins took Game 2, 2-1, to tie the series as it now heads to Pittsburgh.

Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Penalty kill and goaltending. It was what kept the Caps in the game over the first 40 minutes.
  • Minus: Almost everything else. The Caps looked anything but sharp at even strength.

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Perhaps it was the delay for the lottery show, but the Caps came out flat in the first period. Pittsburgh had a 14-5 edge in shots and had a 25-12 edge in total shot attempts. But Nicklas Backstrom was 10-for-10 on faceoffs, so there was that (he finished the game 18-for-20).
  • It did not get any better in the second period, as the Penguins once more had a 14-5 edge in shots and had a 38-13 edge in shot attempts, largely fueled by four power plays for the Pens.
  • The Caps once more had a decided edge in credited hits, 31-21, but they had far fewer opportunities to display their size and physical edge as the Penguins managed to get their speed game loose in this context to a much greater extent than Game 1.
  • The plethora of power plays ate into the ice time for a number of Caps that don’t kill penalties. Andre Burakovsky finished with just 9:59 in ice time. Jason Chimera had 11:54. Tom Wilson had 12:22, but 3:06 of that was spent killing penalties.
  • Matt Murray played well in goal for the Penguins, especially in the third period, but the Caps just have to make him work more. They had only 24 shots on goal, nine of them from defensemen (John Carlson: 5, Matt Niskanen: 3, Nate Schmidt: 1).
  • More on shot pressure. The Caps had shots on goal recorded by only ten of 18 skaters. Four Caps did not record a shot attempt (Taylor Chorney, Tom Wilson, Brooks Orpik, and Jay Beagle).
  • After going 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in this game, the Caps are 30-for-31 in the postseason (96.8 percent).
  • It seems a betting certainty that Brooks Orpik is going to be hearing from the Department of Player Safety for his hit on Olli Maatta on just his second shift of the game. Maatta, who had already passed the puck along, was in a vulnerable state when Orpik took him head-high. Maatta was helped from the ice and did not return. It would seem likely that Orpik will not return to the ice for Game 3, courtesy of the league.
  • Pittsburgh dominated the shot attempt and scoring chance numbers at 5-on-5 in Game 2. It was 51-42 in shot attempts at fives (54.8 percent Corsi-for), and the scoring chances favored the Pens, 24-19 (10-5 in high-danger scoring chances, numbers from war-on-ice.com).
  • In the end, hockey is a funny game. It is, as they say, a matter of inches, or in the case of Game 2, fractions of an inch. Jason Chimera hits a post, and the puck caroms out. Eric Fehr gets enough of a centering pass to ring the puck off the post, and it goes in. Think of just how close this series is, just after two games. The Caps won on a goal on which the puck barely crossed the line and had to be reviewed. The Penguins won on the hockey gods looking more favorably on their shot that hit a pipe.

And now, this...

Game highlights: