Thursday, May 11, 2017

Plus-Minus: Flower powers Pens past Capitals, as Rust scores another clincher

By Brian Metzer
May 10, 2017
Ron Hainsey #65 and Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins go after the puck against Evgeny Kuznetsov #92 and Justin Williams #14 of the Washington Capitals in the first period in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
PLUS – Flower powers Pens past Caps
The Penguins caught up to their goaltender as the game went on, but it was Marc-Andre Fleury who gave them the chance to beat the Capitals on Wednesday. He made 29 saves to post the ninth postseason shutout of his career. He was tested throughout, but he never seemed overwhelmed. He made back-to-back saves on Kevin Shattenkirk and Lars Eller at 6:38 of the second period, but his finest came later as he robbed Alex Ovechkin at 16:07 of the period. He got the shaft of his stick on Ovechkin’s wrist shot from the high slot. The Penguins locked it down and only forced him to make six saves in the third and his fantastic playoff story rolls on.
PLUS – Rust is clutch… again
If you thought Bryan Rust was a playoff hero last season when he scored two goals to send the Penguins past the Tampa Bay Lightning and into the Stanley Cup Final, take a look at him today. He already scored the series-winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets and he now he added another taking a Jake Guentzel feed and roofing it over Braden Holtby’s glove. Rust was tenacious on the forecheck throughout and working his tail off, which helped him on the goal scoring play. He now has eight goals and nine points in 12 elimination games.
PLUS – Wilson and Rowney bring it
Scott Wilson and Carter Rowney haven’t been used much during this series, but there is something to be said for the fact that the team has won with them. Rowney played in two games and Wilson three, and each game has gone down in the win column. Rowney was a valuable penalty killer and finished the game with two shots, three hits and two takeaways over 8:54. Wilson went out and drew Capitals’ defenseman Brooks Orpik into a fight, thus taking him out of action for five minutes, threw two hits and was a noticeable presence each time over the boards.
PLUS – Hornqvist and a huge third period effort from all
Patric Hornqvist has only been in Pittsburgh for three seasons, but he is part of the leadership group and has become a heart and soul type of player. He tells it like it is and he steps up when the games count the most. He did that on Wednesday, scoring an insurance goal in the third period on a great individual effort and finishing with four shots, four hits and two takeaways. The Penguins as a group fed off of his goal and locked the Capitals down in the third. They allowed only six shots, forechecked and played defense as a group, but did so very meticulously. It was their best period since the third period of Game 6 against the San Jose Sharks in the Cup clinching game last season.

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