Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 8, 2017
As expected from the morning lines, the Penguins try to reunite some old faces for forwards with Conor Sheary getting back on Sidney Crosby's line and the famous HBK line back in business.
Defensively, a more involuntary change with Trevor Daley being held out with a lower-body injury, getting Chad Ruhwedel in for his NHL playoff debut.
The Pens don't start particularly well, and even take the game's first penalty about as far away from their own net as possible when Jake Guentzel of all people makes a high hit on a Capitals player. Marc-Andre Fleury is huge early making a big save on Alex Ovechkin.
Second time around, they're not so lucky. Crosby has to get his stick up to deny a scoring chance and on the ensuing power play Washington strikes with a nice passing play and great finish by TJ Oshie. 1-0 Caps.
TJ Oshie gives the Caps an early lead in Game 6 pic.twitter.com/aI7E0rnp1b— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 9, 2017
That would be it for the scoring in the period but the Pens unable to get anything going. Shots 11-3 WSH.
Matt Niskanen with a nice hockey play to leave his skates out for Patric Hornqvist to slide into, eh?
Patric Hornqvist takes Matt Niskanen’s skate to the face pic.twitter.com/5Y7Ym22rrW— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 9, 2017
John Carlson pushes Crosby heavy into the boards but somehow avoids a serious injury out of this.
Sidney Crosby collision at full speed. Appeared dazed afterward pic.twitter.com/ghJTZ6dnFq— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 9, 2017
So this will sound like an exaggeration but almost literally nothing good happened in the first 20 minutes if you're a Penguins fan.
The Caps keep up the pressure and more Pittsburgh mistakes mount. First Sheary can't clear a puck, it gets to Ron Hainsey but he hesitates and gets bowled over a dispossessed by Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky drives to the net and Fleury looks like he's got the short-side locked up but the puck gets lifted on through somehow. The dam of relying on Fleury to play unreal looks like it's about to burst. 2-0 Washington.
Burakovsky scores a weird goal and the Caps lead 2-0 pic.twitter.com/C7Dase3qq4— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 9, 2017
Pittsburgh gets a power play but does nothing with it. Washington keeps up the pressure, they have the boards sealed up and the Pens look totally flummoxed. They can't skate the puck, they can't make any passes, they're turning routine plays over, they look slow, they look poor. And the Caps look the complete opposite; aggressive, pouncing on mistakes, looking fast and looking great.
Any question about whether things would be different for this period were answered in a hurry. Ian Cole hasn't done much wrong but he weakly misplays a puck at the offensive blueline, spring Nicklas Backstrom to pick it up and lead a 2-on-1 for the Caps. Backstrom blows a shot by Fleury gloveside to make it 3-0.
Backstrom snipes for the 3-0 lead. Oh boy oh boy pic.twitter.com/LkcdHVlbP9— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 9, 2017
Pittsburgh gets another power play but, surprise surprise fails horribly.
The Caps score a couple more it stinks.
For shits and gigs, Crosby feeds Guentzel on a 2-on-1 in garbage time to at least breakup Braden Holtby's shutout, and hey, maybe even just plant a seed for next game?
Evgeni Malkin also scores because hey why not. Way too little too late.
- Awful effort by the Pens, but also a great effort by the Caps. Obviously concerning moving forward, but what can you do.
- This game was pretty reminiscent of Game 5 vs Detroit in the SCF. Pens lost that one 5-0 and even went down in the series 3-2. Seemed like they were DOA in that one, and it seems that way now. Anything can still happen, but it's going to take a much bigger effort next time out.
No surprise this one is going 7 games. How it got there is a different story.