5 Keys: Penguins at Capitals, Game 2
Pittsburgh must improve puck possession; Washington confident goalie Braden Holtby will bounce back
by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent
PENGUINS at CAPITALS
8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Pittsburgh leads best-of-7 series 1-0
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Saturday.
Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series 1-0 after a 3-2 victory in Game 1 on Thursday. Center Nick Bonino's third-period goal gave the Penguins the win after Washington overcame an early two-goal deficit.
Here are 5 keys for Game 2:
1. Is Carl Hagelin ready?
Penguins forward Carl Hagelin skated in a full practice Friday and will be a game-time decision by coach Mike Sullivan. The return of the speedy Hagelin, who has not played since March 10 because of a lower-body injury, would give Pittsburgh a boost in several areas. He would make them more dangerous on the rush and gives Sullivan another penalty-killer. The Penguins held an optional morning skate Saturday, so Hagelin's status is unchanged from Friday.
2. Special teams
Washington outhit Pittsburgh 41-17 in Game 1, but there were four minor penalties called and the Penguins got the only two power plays.
Sullivan would like more from his own power play, but said the kind of discipline the Penguins showed Thursday is key against Washington.
"I think certain teams try to take certain threats away that our power play might present, and I think our guys have evolved in terms of taking what they give them and there are lots of threats on both sides," Sullivan said. "So it's a big challenge for our penalty kill. I think our discipline is very important, we did a great job in Game 1 of that. We have to continue in that vein."
3. Puck possession
Washington outshot Pittsburgh 35-21 in Game 1 and had an 83-41 advantage in shot attempts. Sullivan wasn't happy with the Penguins' puck management after Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead on two goals by center Sidney Crosby in the first 1:04 of the second period. The Capitals controlled most of the play after the midway point of the game.
"I don't think we controlled territory as well as we could have, especially in the second half of Game 1," Sullivan said. "The first half, we were pretty strong. I thought the second half, we could have done a better job with our pushback."
4. Braden Holtby
Washington goalie Braden Holtby willingly shouldered the blame for the Game 1 loss and vowed to improve. Holtby allowed three goals on 21 shots, but coach Barry Trotz thought he played well despite Holtby's self-criticism and is confident he'll bounce back.
"He put a lot of stock into his game," Trotz said. "I think he took some of the blame, unnecessarily really. At the same time, I've seen him when he's like, 'I've got to be better,' He is better. And that's what I love about [Holtby] and what I love about top players: When they put the onus on themselves, you know they are going to come up with a good game."
5. 60-minute effort
The Capitals were dominant in the second half of Game 1, but they are still looking for a complete effort, something they feel they haven't had in any of their seven playoff games this spring.
"I think we can do a lot of things better," center Nicklas Backstrom said. "We really haven't had a 60-minute performance in the playoffs yet. Maybe it's time tonight. I think we've played good here and there. It's time for us to put a full game together."
Penguins projected lineup
Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Patric Hornqvist
Bryan Rust -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel
Scott Wilson -- Nick Bonino -- Conor Sheary
Chris Kunitz -- Matt Cullen -- Tom Kuhnhackl
Brian Dumoulin -- Ron Hainsey
Olli Maatta -- Trevor Daley
Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz
Scratched: Mark Streit, Carter Rowney, Chad Ruhwedel
Injured: Matt Murray (lower body), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (lower body)
Capitals projected lineup
Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky -- Lars Eller -- Tom Wilson
Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Paul Carey
Nate Schmidt -- John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk
Scratched: Brett Connolly, Taylor Chorney, Chandler Stephenson
Injured: Karl Alzner (upper body)
Carey will make his playoff debut for Washington and replace Connolly on the fourth line. Connolly will be a healthy scratch. Alzner is still day-to-day.
Malkin has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in six playoff games and leads the NHL in assists and points in the postseason. Crosby is second with nine points (four goals, five assists), and Kessel is tied for third with eight points (two goals, six assists). Guentzel leads all scorers with five goals. … Oshie is tied for third with eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games. Williams (three goals, three assists) and Backstrom (two goals, four assists) each have six points. Ovechkin has four goals in seven games, including one in Game 1.