If the Capitals have any chance to complete the comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they must find a way to beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Heading into Game 5, Washington had managed only nine goals in four games. On, Saturday, however, the offense finally broke through.
The Caps trailed 2-1 heading into the third period, but pierced Fleury for three goals in the final 20 minutes of the game for the 4-2 win. Fleury finished the game with a .875 save percentage, his lowest of the series.
“It takes a little frustration out of your game if you finally crack through a little bit,” Barry Trotz said in a conference call with the media on Sunday. “We were sort of stuck in that two and three goal area and then in a very important moment in the third period obviously in an important game, our guys delivered against him. I think that gives a little boost of confidence for sure.”
That confidence will be important considering the Caps will still need to breakthrough against Fleury twice more in order to advance.
Four goals may not seem like a lot, but it is the most Washington has scored in a game this series. The Caps are 2-0 when they score more than two goals and 0-3 when they do not. Finding a way to get three or more goals against Fleury may be the biggest key to the series going forward.
One difference will be better shot selection.
It’s no secret that Washington has dominated the shot and possession stats through the series. So why are they losing? The play of Fleury is one reason, but let’s be real. As good as Fleury has been, he is not going to get many Jaroslav Halak comparisons. The fact is, the Caps may be getting more shots, but they are not getting enough quality shots from high-danger areas.Too many of their shots have been getting blocked or have been easy saves for Fleury because they are coming from too far out.
Trotz said he wanted the team to show more “poise” when shooting.
“A couple times we got it and we had an opportunity maybe to make a good shot, we just sort of threw it. Just maybe be, I wouldn't say more selective, but more poised with our shots, looking for tips.”
Whatever it will take to beat Fleury, Trotz knows it is up to the Caps to do it because he is not taking Game 5 as a sign that Fleury is wearing down.
“Every game is a game in itself, each one is different,” Trotz said. “I think [Fleury’s] played well through the series and I expect him to continue to play well.”
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