Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Plus-Minus: Not enough shots, too many penalties doomed Penguins in Game 6

By Brian Metzer
May 8, 2017
Justin Williams #14 of the Washington Capitals skates against Ron Hainsey #65 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

MINUS – Can’t score if you don’t shoot
The Penguins averaged 33.6 shots per game during the regular season, which ranked first overall. Unfortunately, they would pick up only nine shots through two periods and 18 overall on Monday against the Capitals. They didn’t get their first shot on Braden Holtby until the 12:17 mark of the opening period when defenseman Brian Dumoulin’s clearing attempt from 136 feet away was caught by the Capitals’ goaltender. That said, the Penguins were still trailing only 2-0 entering the third period, but didn’t get any sustained pressure until the Capitals opened up a 5-0 lead.
MINUS – Caps take advantage of too many Pens penalties
The Penguins killed off seven straight Capitals power plays between Games 4 and 5, but they couldn’t sustain that in Game 6. They went to the penalty box four times on Monday, and the Capitals scored two power play goals. That is something that they will have to clean up heading into Game 7 at Verizon Center. They didn’t have much five-on-five continuity to begin with, and having to spend so much time on the penalty kill broke it up even more.
PLUS --- Guentzel adds to his impressive postseason
The Penguins didn’t have much to be positive about during Game 6, but Jake Guentzel did pick up his ninth goal of the postseason. That leads all players in the playoffs. It was also Guentzel’s 13th point, which ties him with Jaromir Jagr for the franchise record for playoff points by a rookie. He finished the game with the goal, two shots and four hits.
MINUS – Penguins’ blue line is wearing down minus Letang, Daley
The Penguins have done a great job of filling in for Kris Letang throughout the postseason, but playing without Trevor Daley as well was a little too much. Chad Ruhwedel was forced into the lineup and played only 13:14, which forced a heavier load onto the other five defensemen. Ian Cole, Ron Hainsey and Justin Schultz simply looked tired out and taxed, as they combined for no shots on goal. Cole registered a minus-3 rating, while Hainsey had a giveaway in the second period that resulted in Andre Burakovsky’s goal that put the Capitals up 2-0.

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