Penguins' Hagelin a game-time decision for Game 2 vs. Caps

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby celebrates his goal with the bench during the second period of Game 1 of the team's NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals Thursday

Ever since the Penguins and Capitals rivalry renewed with the arrival of Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby in 2005, the Penguins have seen three Stanley Cup Finals appearances and two Stanley Cup wins.

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russian Federation, chases the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist (72), of Sweden, during Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Thursday, . A baseball cap had replaced his mask. It had come to this, the Capitals' star goaltender benched in favor of his understudy. Holtby's save percentage this postseason, meanwhile, is.919, far below his past two postseasons of.942 and.944.

"Phil is a difference-maker with his offensive instincts and his ability to make plays and shoot the puck, and I think it was evident with his game tonight", Sullivan said.

"We just had to change, sort of, the 'mojo, '" Trotz said when asked why he made the switch.

For example, Sidney Crosby, who did significant damage against the Capitals in Game 1, had too much space and freedom against the Capitals, and he made them pay.

Hagelin admitted he wasn't too happy with his own play Saturday night, but that's perhaps not unexpected in his first game back in a month and a half.

The Penguins came to the District with two goals.

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Washington enjoyed a decisive advantage in shots (35-21) and authored most of the night's best hits, keeping the crowd engaged.

The Capitals responded quickly. That marked Washington's first goal in 20 shots and three power plays.

The Capitals are 5-1 in their last 6 road games, 1-6 in their last 7 Conference Semifinals games and 39-12 in their last 51 games playing on 1 days rest.

Nearly eight years after their "dueling hat tricks" game, Ovechkin answered Crosby with his fourth goal of the playoffs, but his team couldn't compensate for the Penguins captain's greatness. Grubauer allowed a goal on the second shot he faced, making it 4-1. His game-tying goal late in the third period marked his second career playoff hat trick, and first since 2013. But Cullen, who had four goals and six points in Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup run a year ago, is once again playing an essential part to the Penguins' success.

"Braden Holtby has got to be way better", Olczyk said.

"Playoffs are made of big moments", the goalie explained, per Brian McNally of 106.7 The Fan. "They're special athletes, both those guys, and they look for those big moments and they capitalize on those big moments". "And I just didn't". "Obviously, I was frustrated that I didn't do that". "We just have to pressure them, and we don't have to give them any chances to get success". Saturday night was a frustrating continuation of dominating the Penguins without reaping a reward.

The pesky Tampa Bay Lightning, lifted by outstanding play from its backup goalie at one end of the ice, used a counterattacking strategy to nearly clinically exploit and capitalize on the Penguins' up-tempo, puck-pressuring style. For the second straight game in this series, the Capitals had twice as many shot attempts but were outscored. "We've got to shoot it quicker before they can get in those lanes".

The Penguins, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Metropolitan Division rival Capitals according to the OddsShark NHL Database, could have LW Carl Hagelin (lower body) in the lineup for the first time in seven weeks. However, as always, Washington didn't get the bounces they needed while Pittsburgh did. Because the Pens, as they'll tell you, are clutch.



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