Game 2 Preview: at Washington Capitals - April 30, 2016



Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2) vs Washington Capitals (5-2)
April 30, 2016 @ 8:00 PM - Verizon Center
TV: NBC
Washington Leads Series 1-0

It was predicted to be a tight, back and forth series between the Penguins and Capitals heading into the series, and Game 1 certainly didn't do anything to change that viewpoint as the Capitals took the upper hand in the series with a 4-3 OT win. While Game 2 is not necessarily a must-win game for the Pens, they'll certainly be in a much better position stealing the home-ice advantage and taking a 1-1 series back to Pittsburgh instead of falling into an 0-2 hole. To do so, they'll need a more consistent effort from their defense than they received in the last game, as Washington managed to take advantage of some Penguins turnovers and miscues.

Neither team played close to a perfect game as the play was sloppy at times as the Pens and Caps traded stretches of pinning the other team in their own zone. Matt Murray at times was great, stoning Alexander Ovechkin on a pair of breakaways and standing tall in net, but also had some rookie mistakes like when allowing Oshie's goal to put the Caps up 3-2. Still, Murray showed enough to throughout the game and against the Rangers to suggest that Pittsburgh isn't going to have a noticeable disadvantage in net.

What the Pens need to do is continue to push the advantage their forward depth provides them. Carl Hagelin (+12 Corsi), Phil Kessel (+11), and Nick Bonino (+7) were key in driving play as the Capitals focused on the Crosby and Malkin lines, and they were effective on the scoresheet as well with a combined 1 goal and 4 assists. However, their strong play was offset by the normally effective 4th line as Matt Cullen (-15), Bryan Rust (-15), and Tom Kuhnhackl (-12) struggled in Game 1. The Penguins are at their best when they're able to roll all four lines, and a strong showing by the 4th line allows Pittsburgh to further wear down the Capitals 

Projected Lines



Notes

- Chris Kunitz is questionable for tonight's game after taking a puck to the head during the overtime period in Game 1, while Beau Bennett is not a candidate to return to the lineup if Kunitz is unable to go.

- No team ever wants to go down in a series, but the Penguins have historically had success coming from behind against Washington. They've won 6 of 7 previous postseason meetings, including coming back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits in 1992, a 3-1 deficit in 1995, a 2-0 deficit in 1996, and a 2-0 deficit in 2009. In fact, the Pens have beaten the Capitals in each of the three seasons the franchise has won the Stanley Cup. That said, the past 25 years have no bearing on the outcome of this series.
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