The Caps find themselves in an 0-2 series hole after falling to the Penguins 6-2 on Saturday night. This game sucked and it’s understandable if you’ve got “here we go again” running through your head.
The Caps absolutely dominated the first period. This was one of the more dominant twenty minutes of hockey the Caps have played this season. But the frame ended with nothing to show for it and, oooh boy, does that sting now. Missed assignments, odd-man rushes, and Braden Holtby looking human came to define a game that could have looked very different if a puck or two had been deposited behind Marc-Andre Fleury in the first period.
But it didn’t happen. And here we are.
Caps paying very dearly for their failure to score several times in the first. pic.twitter.com/Bmwxqjexgv
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) April 30, 2017
Moral victories don’t matter much when you’re down 0-2 in a playoff series, but the Caps’ third line continues to play really well. Just like the rest of the team, however, too often they’ve been unable to turn dominant shifts into goals. Through two games, Andre Burakovsky leads all skaters with a plus-33 on-ice shot attempt differential. Linemates Lars Eller (plus-31) and Tom Wilson (plus-30) aren’t far behind.
The Pens depth, particularly their third line, was credited with being the difference in the series between these two teams last season. The Caps revamped their third line for this season in response to that and the line has been able to overwhelm the Pens for extended periods this series.
Can they turn this dominance into goals before it’s too late?
Barry Trotz has some decisions he’ll be mulling over before Game Three on Monday night in Pittsburgh. Some thoughts on a few of these:
The loss in Game Two was as discouraging as they come. The Caps dominated early, were unable to capitalize, and then were outdone by an opportunistic team. Sound familiar?
I don’t mention the fact that the Caps did things well in Game Two as some sort of moral victory. The team is down 0-2 and there’s point in sugarcoating what’s happened. However, the extended stretches of dominant play from the Caps should serve as a reminder that if the strong play can be turned into goals, this series is a long way from over.
Headline image: Rob Carr
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