"Braden's our backbone. He has been all year", Trotz said, but he also acknowledged that Holtby "wasn't as sharp as he can be for us". "We're just not doing quite enough". We've got to find some goals for him, too.
The two top players came face-to-face in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal on April 27 when the Penguins pulled a victory over the Capitals 3-2, giving them a 1-0 lead in the series.
Guentzel made it 3-1 with 3:46 left in the period when he kept the puck on a two-on-one and fired under Holtby's glove from the right circle for his sixth goal of the playoffs. Fleury's again been up to the challenge stopping 67 of 71 shots in the first to games of the series, again both Penguins wins and again largely due to their goalie.
Philipp Grubauer replaced Holtby for the third period for his first appearance in the playoffs. Already, they face long odds, as just 18 of the previous 87 teams to drop the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home have gone on to win the series, and only four in National Hockey League history have come back from a 3-0 deficit.
The Capitals responded quickly.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen (7) celebrates his goal with Olli Maatta (3), of Finland, Tom Kuhnhackl (34), of Germany, and Ron Hainsey (65) as Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) skates away during the. Defensively, the Washington Capitals are allowing 2.2 goals per game and are killing 83.8 percent of their opponents power plays.
"They've got great pedigree", Trotz said. Things did not get much better with Grubauer back there: He allowed a goal on the second shot he faced, and another on the fourth, making Pittsburgh's advantage 5-2.
Through seven playoff games, including two wins over Washington in the second round, the Penguins hardly resemble the shot-generating, ice-tilting team that went on to win the Stanley Cup in 2016. Kessel and Guentzel then found the back of the net to give Pittsburgh a comfortable lead, which was only augmented when Kessel scored again. Through the playoffs, they have struggled to put up any goals, and because of that, they have lost games, been unable to recover or even the score or even take the lead. At that point, the Capitals had 27 shots on goal to Pittsburgh's 14 with little to show for it.
Then, with Washington still on the power play, Niskanen was left all alone in the slot and beat Fleury on a one-timer off a pass from Ovechkin.
"Yeah, obviously, it's never where you want to be", Holtby said.
"The playoffs are made of big moments", Holtby told reporters. That third goal, that's a big moment. "That's where your goalie needs to come up with a save".
Ottawa is looking very good, and they defeated us twice. Saturday night was a frustrating continuation of dominating the Penguins without reaping a reward. The Capitals have fired 171 shot attempts in the first two games, and while Fleury hasn't had to make a stop on most of those, he still has to track the puck and stay alert way more than he should have to.
"I have a lot of trust in this group". Henrik Lundqvist stopped 28 shots.
Coming into the game, it looked like they might have been trying to get Sheary going by putting him opposite Hagelin on Bonino's line. "And he'll park it and he'll be different in this series".
"They've gone to places you have to go to win championships", Trotz said of his opponent. He's a straight up guy and he will be.