stats-recaps1
National Hockey League
Preview
Pittsburgh at Washington
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 29, 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia

With David Letterman rocking quite the playoff beard rinkside at the Verizon Center, the host Washington Capitals were trying to turn in a performance that would have been worthy of the former late-night talk show host's Top 10 after the opener of the Eastern Conference second-round series. Alas, the joke once again could be on the Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals in Saturday's Game 2 should the perennial playoff underachievers fall to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins again.

"It's not going to be easy, especially against the defending Stanley Cup champions," Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said on the heels of Thursday's 3-2 setback. "So we have to dictate the game. From the first minute of the game, we have to make a statement." The Capitals did so to the tune of an 83-41 advantage in attempted shots - and 35-21 in actual ones - in the series opener, but Ovechkin's second-period goal came after arch-rival Sidney Crosby tallied twice in a 52-second span for his franchise high-tying 51st career multi-point postseason performance. Crosby, who is riding a five-game point streak (four goals, five assists), has collected 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in 14 playoff contests against the Capitals while Ovechkin has recorded 22 (11 goals, 11 assists) in the same stretch versus the Penguins.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVAS

ABOUT THE PENGUINS: Nick Bonino continues to be a thorn in the side of Washington, ending last year's second-round series with the overtime winner in Game 6 and scoring and setting up a goal during the regular season before converting on a breakaway with 7:24 remaining in the third period on Thursday. "'Bones' is a guy that's a high-stakes player," coach Mike Sullivan said of the 29-year-old Connecticut native. "He brings his best game when the games are most important, and we've got a lot of guys on our roster that we can say that about." Marc-Andre Fleury falls into that category after making 15 of his 33 saves in the third period Thursday to improve to 5-1 in the playoffs with an impressive .934 save percentage.

ABOUT THE CAPITALS: Ovechkin used some colorful language to express his displeasure with the officials failing to call any penalties against Pittsburgh in Game 1, while fellow teammate and former Penguin defenseman Matt Niskanen offered the more politically correct take of "no comment." While several members of Washington were pointing the finger at the officials, Braden Holtby had his directed at himself - with Crosby's first goal 12 seconds into the middle session as a sticking point. "I thought I got there in plenty of time," the reigning Vezina Trophy winner told the Washington Post. "... I just didn't keep my glove in the right position. It's just you leave that one little space and it goes right there. It's one that I'm capable of stopping and will next time."

OVERTIME

1. Washington RW T.J. Oshie has recorded at least a point in eight of his last nine playoff games dating back to last year and has seven points (five goals, two assists) in his last seven postseason contests versus Pittsburgh.

2. Penguins LW Carl Hagelin participated in a full-contact practice Friday and will be a game-time decision for Game 2 after being sidelined since March 10 with a lower-body injury.

3. Capitals' superstars traditionally come to play in Game 2 of a playoff series, with Ovechkin (10 goals, six assists) and C Nicklas Backstrom (seven goals, eight assists) excelling in the contest while Holtby owns a 1.63 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage in his career in that tilt.

PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Penguins 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Pittsburgh 55-22-6-5 W2 34-6-2-2 21-16-4-3 5-2-0-0 50-20-6-5 25-9-1-1
Washington 59-20-5-5 L1 34-8-2-1 25-12-3-4 7-3-0-1 52-17-5-4 18-8-2-3
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh Washington
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
4/27/17 PIT 3 WAS 2 21 33 0-2 35 18 0-0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 2
Washington L. Eller 1
Goals Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 2
Washington E. Kuznetsov 1
Assists Player  
Pittsburgh P. Hornqvist 2
Washington L. Eller 1
Saves Player  
Pittsburgh M. Fleury 33
Washington B. Holtby 18
Season
Total Points Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 98
Washington N. Backstrom 92
Goals Player  
Pittsburgh S. Crosby 48
Washington T. Oshie 39
Assists Player  
Pittsburgh P. Kessel 53
Washington N. Backstrom 67
Saves Player  
Pittsburgh M. Fleury 1379
Washington B. Holtby 1860
Quickchart Matchup
Pittsburgh Off vs  Washington Def
3.43 GF
2.2 GA
33.4 Shots
28.3 Shots
65 PP
47 PK
Washington Off vs  Pittsburgh Def
3.16 GF
2.77 GA
30.8 Shots
33 Shots
62 PP
54 PK