Do or Die for the Caps in Game 5

We’ve been here before.

The Capitals are down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a series. Last year, Washington was up 3-1 on the Rangers in round two only to falter and lose in seven. In 2014, the Penguins had a 3-1 lead on the Rangers in round two only to lose in seven. Two of the last three Stanley Cup Champions have come back from 3-1 series deficits.

It’s not impossible but it’s not easy either.

In the last two games, the Caps have been the better team. Out shooting and out hitting, they took control of those games only to see the Pens get lucky bounces and score. The Pens also have taken advantage of the Caps D miscues and made them pay.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Caps haven’t played a terrible series. If they want to get back in this series, they gotta execute and get back to their game plan that made them the most dominant team in the NHL. The lines have been reshuffled by Trotz in hopes of energizing scoring. Something has got to give.

  • Power Outage: The Caps have struggled mightily on the Power Play this series. After dominating the Flyers with the extra man advantage, Washington has gone 1 for 12 (8.3%).
  • Alex Ovechkin continues to lay the hits on but needs to amp up his scoring efforts. He only has one goal off 21 shots in this series.
  • Braden Holtby let up three goals or more in three straight games for the first time all season. The Caps need to do better helping him out in front of the net.
  • Crash the Net: Two of the Caps goals from Johansson and Williams came when they were crashing the net and Murray couldn’t see the puck. They got to do more of that and less of these shots from 20-30 feet out.
  • More Consistent Defensive Play: Mistakes on D have been costly. Orlov’s bad hit in game one and Weber’s gaffe in game 4 helped put the Caps down in this series.
  • Brooks Orpik finishes up his three-game suspension in game 5. He will be activated and in the lineup should there be a game 6 Tuesday in Pittsburgh (will be an 8pm start if so.)

Closing Time?

The Penguins are traveling to Washington in hopes of putting the final dagger in the series and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Penguins are 7-1 in playoff series Vs. the Capitals. Sidney Crosby has yet to lose a series against Ovechkin in  and the Caps when it counts.

  • The Pittsburgh Power Play is worse than Washington’s, having gone 0-14 in the series so far.
  • Patric Hornqvist leads all Penguins in the playoffs with five goals (two in this series).
  • Sidney Crosby registered his first point of the series (an assist on a goal) and is 58 of 105 on faceoffs (55 percent).
  • Kris Letang returns in game 5 after being suspended for game 4.

Starting goaltenders are the same as it has been…Braden Holtby Vs. Matt Murray.

Puck drop is at 7:15 p.m. at Verizon Center on NBC following the Kentucky Derby.


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