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Trotz: Caps need more production from 'certain guys'

Trotz: Caps need more production from 'certain guys'

The second round matchup between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins looked like it was going to be an offense-heavy matchup. Four games into the series, however, it's the lack of offense that has become the story.

For the series, Washington has scored only nine goals, fewer than three per game. It's easy to immediately point the finger at Alex Ovechkin who has only one goal and two assists against Pittsburgh, but Ovechkin's line has been given the unenviable task of shutting down the Penguins' top unit. So far so good as Sidney Crosby has only one assist in the series.

Really, when talking about the Capitals' offensive struggles, the problem in this series has been secondary scoring.

"You look at the production through the playoffs, we haven't had a lot out of certain guys," Trotz said. "We just need it. We're playing a team that gets production from all four lines, we cannot afford to not have production from any lines to have a chance to win the series."


It's not hard to figure out who Trotz could be talking about.

The Caps have only gotten three total points in the postseason from young offensive stars Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky. Veteran leaders Justin Williams and Mike Richards are struggling as well. Williams has four points, but his contributions have been largely negated by the six penalties he has taken. Richards, meanwhile, has zero points.

Washington's vaunted power play has also grown silent, with only one goal in 12 attempts. When asked about it after Game 4, Trotz said, "We're a hair off right now."

The team's lack of offensive production also comes at a time when they are facing a future star in net in Matt Murray.

An upper-body injury kept the rookie netminder out of the lineup until Game 3 of Pittsburgh's first round series, but he hast started ever since going 6-1 with a 1.81 GAA and .944 save percentage.

But the opportunities to beat him have been there.

Murray has given up a lot of big rebounds throughout the series, but there's been no one there up close in the crease to collect from the Caps. When teams are struggling to get the pretty goals, that's when it's time to go after the ugly ones.

When asked if he was satisfied with the amount of pressure his team was getting on Murray, Trotz said, "No because we haven't got enough goals by him. He's a good goaltender. He's playing really well. What he's doing is making some keys saves at key times. I thought he did that obviously in Game 3, he was really good and I thought he was really good in Game 2 in that third period when we had it really coming on. He made some key saves. We've got to get by that and move forward."

The problem Trotz now finds himself in is a matchup one. By going top line vs. top line, the Caps have effectively shut down Crosby's line. If Trotz tries to move away form that matchup to get his own top line more opportunities, will that allow Pittsburgh's top line more opportunities as well?

If the team can't get any production from the other three lines, it's a choice Trotz may have to make.


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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.