Quick Keys to Game 1: What to Watch For

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

This abridged primer is for all of you hard-working Caps fans, who don’t have a ton of time to peruse “the great American novel” just to find out the keys to tonight’s game.

Limit the Penguins odd-man rushes. The Pens will get a few of these no matter what, just be because of style of hockey they play. The key will be to limit these, and effectively manage the 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 break-aways in the defensive zone.

Speed kills – The Caps need to neutralize the Penguins speed game as much as possible. This may be the Caps biggest concern. The Capitals will need to limit transition mistakes, complete checks, and stiffen at the blue line.

Penalties and the penalty-kill – The Penguins led all playoff teams on the power play for the first round. The Caps penalty kill will need to continue its great play in round two for the Caps to advance.

The Beast – Braden Holtby will need to continue to play well, as he’s done over the past month. It can’t be all on Braden’s shoulders, but he still need to have a good series.

Net-front Presence = Net Front Presents – crash the net and stay there. We all know by now that playoff goals differ from a majority of regular season goals. Gritty is the name of the game.

Kuz-control – Evgeny Kuznetsov needs to have a better series than he did in the first round. This means offense, goals and driving the offensive attack.

Burakovsky – Andre Burakovsky needs to be big in this series, along with the rest of the second and 3rd lines, which didn’t have a good series in the first round.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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