PITTSBURGH -- News, notes and projected lineups as the Capitals try to stave off elimination tonight in Game 6 of their second-round series against the Penguins (7 p.m. pregame, CSN):
By the numbers: The Caps are 10-7 in their last 17 elimination games during the Alex Ovechkin era (4-5 since 2010). Barry Trotz is 2-1 in elimination games as the Capitals’ head coach, his only loss coming in Game 7 against the Rangers last spring.
Down but not out: The Caps are 2-6 in playoff series in which they fall behind three games to one. (Their two series wins came in 2009 against the Rangers and in 1988 against the Flyers). The Caps have forced a Game 7 when trailing 3-1 in a best-of-seven series three of eight times.
Strong finishers: The Caps have outscored opponents 11-3 in third periods this post-season and their plus-8 goal differential in the third period is second-best in the NHL, behind Tampa Bay (plus-9).
Killing them softly: Even without Brooks Orpik for six games (three injury, three suspension) the Caps are 38-for-40 on the penalty kill this postseason and 51-for-53 since April 2. They are 15-for-16 against the Penguins in this series.
Power surge: After scoring one power-play goal in their previous 22 chances, the Caps erupted for two power-play goals in Game 5.
Trending: Including regular season and playoffs, the Caps are 29-10-8 in one-goal games; 36-5-4 when scoring a power-play goal; 39-3-2 when scoring first; 23-0-1 when leading after the first period; and 42-0-1 when leading after two periods (5-0 in the playoffs).
Even Steven: The Penguins have a 3-2 lead in the series but both teams have scored 12 goals and the Caps have recorded just four more shots (167-163).
“I think you’re looking at two solid teams that everyone expected would be in the mix late in the playoffs,” Penguins center Matt Cullen said. “It just so happened we met in the second round. Both teams played some really good hockey in the regular season, consistent hockey, and it’s been no exception in the playoffs.”
Caps defenseman Taylor Chorney agreed.
“There’s a lot of pressure on both teams,” he said. “There’s only maybe a few organizations throughout the league where you’re expected to win every year.
“They’re obviously one of the teams along with us with the type of teams we have assembled. You’re expected to win and there’s pressure both ways. We’ve just gotta make sure we’re as desperate as we were in Game 5 and probably even more desperate.”
Here are projected lineups for tonight:
- Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
- Olli Maatta - Trevor Daley
- Ian Cole - Ben Lovejoy
- Matt Murray (starter) - Marc-Andre Fleury