Capitals replace Holtby in goal for 3rd period of Game 2

The Penguins got the win despite having just 21 shots.

Yeah, obviously, it's never where you want to be, but the playoffs are made of big moments. The Capitals just haven't been able to contain the Penguins so far and as a consequent they're now down 2-0 with the series heading to Pittsburgh. The dire situation, a season full of expectation suddenly on the brink, prompted a players-only meeting after the game.

"It was things that people need to say and things that some people need to hear".

"Yes, absolutely, why would you think otherwise?"

The pesky Tampa Bay Lightning, lifted by outstanding play from its backup goalie at one end of the ice, used a counterattacking strategy to nearly clinically exploit and capitalize on the Penguins' up-tempo, puck-pressuring style.

Reminded that he said late Saturday night that it was too early to know who'd be in goal, Trotz added: "There's no question he's our goaltender". He wasn't even Pittsburgh's top option going into the postseason, as Fleury only got the net because Matt Murray got hurt during warmups before the Penguins' first playoff game. The stakes are higher than ever, especially for the Capitals. Overall, he doesn't look like the Holtby we've come to know through the playoffs.

With Washington still on the power play, Niskanen, all alone in the slot, beat Fleury on a one-timer off a pass from Ovechkin.

The Senators have a 2-0 series lead for just the second time in franchise history, and first since the 2007 Eastern Conference final against Buffalo. It's not about that. They blocked 26 in the first game.

It was seeing Holtby sitting on the bench in a baseball cap to start the third period that provided the biggest gut check on Saturday night.

Guentzel, whose first goal of the game came after Crosby laid out on the ice to block a shot before he chipped the puck to Guentzel, said it's hard to be surprised by all the unbelievable stuff Crosby does. What few chances the Penguins had, they scored on. They relied on a young Holtby to come up from Hershey and start in a tough playoff series against defending cup champions in the Boston Bruins.

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"I thought some of the goals, he wasn't as sharp as he can be for us", said Washington head coach Barry Trotz said. "We've got to find some goals in our room right now, and we haven't found enough".

"That was the message".

"It wasn't a situation where we had chance after chance after chance and I think we got some good looks and we put them in", Crosby said. But it didn't matter, as Fleury stayed locked in all game long. When media were allowed in, Orpik, an alternate captain, was critical of his teammates.

"It was very intense", Hagelin said.

That was at least in part a reference to a golf outing by some players earlier in the trip. In the past nine series, the Pens have won eight of those. "When we get high-quality opportunities, that's when we believe our quick-strike capability is at its best".

According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, the Capitals are favored at home, as they are getting odds of -145 to win. He leads the playoffs in goals scored and already owns the franchise record for playoff goals by a rookie.

We won it all last year, so why can't we do it all again this year?

"I'm playing with great players and I'm just trying to be around the net", Guentzel said.

Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist for Washington, which has yet to lead in the series despite a huge edge in shot attempts.

Barring a miracle comeback by a team with no postseason pedigree against a playoff-tested squad, this chapter seems likely to end like all the others. "He'll tell you he can be better", Trotz said.

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