Capitals Daily Report: Get Your Popcorn Ready


Photo: @Capitals

The atmosphere for Game 4 is expected to be intense after the tension in both locker rooms heightened following Game 3. The Capitals are looking to gain momentum and head back to DC with the series tied going into Saturday’s Game 5. Tonight is must-see TV. Puck drop is at 7:30

MORNING SKATE
There weren’t any changes to the Capitals lineup at the team’s morning skate. Brett Connolly was skating on the fourth line, but there is a possibility that head coach Barry Trotz could go with seven defensemen tonight just like in Game 3. Trotz said that it’ll be a game-time decision on whether or not they go with seven blue liners.

Capitals lines:
Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie
Johansson-Kuznetsov-Williams
Burakovsky-Eller-Wilson
Winnik-Beagle-?

Defense
Orlov-Niskanen
Schmidt-Carlson
Orpik-Shattenkirk
Alzner-?

“It’s a huge opportunity for us to tie (the series) and go back home 2-2. Right now it’s the biggest game of the year,” said Alex Ovechkin.

“I regret that (the Crosby hit) happened. But I’m adamant that I’m not sure, at that game speed, what I could have done different,” said Matt Niskanen.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
The Penguins held  an optional skate this morning. Among the Penguins who didn’t skate were Evgeni Malkin, Carl Hagelin, Matt CullenBrian Dumoulin, Ron Hainsey, and Chris Kunitz. Sidney Crosby and Connor Sheary, who each suffered concussions in Game 3, didn’t skate either.

Yesterday the Penguins recalled Oskar Sundqvist and Josh Archibald from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Both players took the scratch’s skate. Carter Rowney and Scott Wilson didn’t stay on for the extra skate.

Penguins lines:
Forwards
Wilson-Guentzel-Hornqvist
Rust-Malkin-Rowney
Hagelin-Bonino-Kessel
Kunitz-Cullen-Kuhnhackl

Defense
Dumoulin-Hainsey
Maatta-Daley
Cole-Schultz

Several Penguins spoke with the media following today’s skate. Phil Kessel gave an update on Crosby, “He’s feeling better, but obviously whenever you get cross checked in the face you’re not feeling good for a while.”

A Pittsburgh reporter, once again, tried to start some drama by misusing the context of Jay Beagle‘s quote to Phil Kessel. Beagle was initially making a reference to the tone of these intense playoff games, but Kessel was told this quote was on the Niskanen hit.

Here is the full Beagle interview from yesterday at the team hotel:

Kessel responded, “Well… if he thinks that’s clean, he’s an idiot.” Mike Sullivan said he’s thinking about moving Jake Guentzel to center to replace Crosby.

When Beagle learned that Kessel called him an idiot, he said, “Ouch, that hurts. That’s not very nice. That hurts deeply. If he wants to settle it, we could always play some Mario Kart. He knows where to find me.”

SCENES FROM PITTSBURGH

SHAVINGS

  • Nicklas Backstrom registered two points (one goal, one assist) in Game 3 at Pittsburgh, marking his second consecutive multi-point game.
  • Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game-winning goal in overtime on Monday, joining Rod Langway (4/25/90) and Mike Green (5/4/13) as the only defensemen in Capitals history to score an overtime goal in the postseason.
  • Alex Ovechkin earned an assist in Game 3, extending his point streak to three games.
  • Braden Holtby stopped 28 of 30 shots in Game 3 at Pittsburgh to earn his franchise-leading 27th career playoff win.
  • Backstrom earned an assist on Shattenkirk’s goal, passing Dale Hunter (47) for first place on the Capitals all-time postseason assists list.
  • Ovechkin has recorded 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 16 career playoff games against Pittsburgh and has earned a point in 14 of those 16 games.
  • Justin Williams earned two assists in Game 3 at Pittsburgh, marking his sixth career multi-assist playoff game and second multi-point game this postseason.
  • The Capitals are 4-2 in overtime this postseason, marking the third time in franchise playoff history the Capitals have played six or more overtime games (1997-98: 7, 2011-2012: 6) and the second time Washington has won four or more playoff games in overtime (1997-98: 5-2).

DAILY LINKS
Game Notes at Pittsburgh, 5/3/17 (Capitals PR)
Caps Seek a Second Win in Pittsburgh in Game 4 (Mike Vogel)
SKATE SHAVINGS: News and Notes From Caps’ Morning Skate (Mike Vogel)
Matt Niskanen Says He’ll Wait to Reach Out to Sidney Crosby After Sidelining Him with a Concussion (Tarik El-Bashir/CSN)
Alex Ovechkin on Sidney Crosby’s concussion: ‘I hope he’s going to be fine’ (Isabelle Khurshudyan/Washington Post)
For D.C. Sports fans, every night is ‘a cycle of absolute insanity’ (Dan Steinberg)

INTERVIEWS
Alex Ovechkin

Rinkside Update: Dmitry Orlov

Caps Pregame Locker Room

Barry Trotz

CAPITALS IN THE COMMUNITY

By Michael Marzzacco

#8elieve

A post shared by NoVa Caps (@nova_caps) on

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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