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

Pittsburgh center Matt Cullen, left, scores a second-period goal past Washington goalie Braden Holtby, maneuvering by right wing T.J. Oshie (77) Saturday night in Washington, D.C. It was one of three goals by the Penguins in the second period.

Capitals fans are wondering how this Washington team is different from any of the other ones that couldn't get past the second round of the playoffs.

One nifty little flip by Vernon Fiddler provided a big lift for the Nashville Predators on a rough night.

Presidents' Trophy winners the Capitals, who have a knack for wilting in the postseason, find themselves in a 2-0 series hole. The play Crosby made to go through his legs while gaining entry into the offensive zone before Kessel scored his first of two goals was the highlight-reel play, but it was his blocked shots and backchecking that coach Mike Sullivan will likely highlight. "We know we're not giving up hope or getting frustrated".

Take away the first minute and four seconds of the second period, when Sidney Crosby used his power-up to score twice, and the Penguins would have been left with a rather terrible opening to Round 2. "We need to go to those places". 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.

As for Kessel, if he has a reputation these days, it's as a big-game player. Ironically, the broadcast team was just talking about whether the Penguins should have been called for having too many players on the ice when this occurred. For the second game in a row, the Capitals had a huge lead in shot attempts (89-40). Against this team, you might be 0-0 through 58 minutes or into overtime and you've just got to be patient.




Two of the three goals Holtby gave up he arguably had no chance on. "I don't know if that's good or bad, but I don't think you should ever get used to that".

But being the best in the regular season isn't the same as being the best in the playoffs.

It was the fifth goal in 43 career playoff games for the 36-year-old Fiddler, who did not play in the Predators' first-round series sweep against the Blackhawks. He has a.925 save percentage in seven games.

The Capitals will now be desperate for wins in Pittsburgh, which won't be an easy task. The Penguins have been kind to us in game one and two of this series, I'm not going to back off now that they're at home with a chance to put one more nail in the coffin. Washington did not have a power play in a playoff game for the first time since Game 7 of the first round against the New York Islanders in 2015. They are a very well built team, and they have been for many seasons now. "I don't try to overthink stuff, just try and enjoy the game".

And, then you have the infamous face-off between Washington's Alex Ovechkin, 31, vs. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, 29. 1 and 2 teams in the National Hockey League and the NHL's No. 1 and No. 2 players of the past decade. As that team left the ice as the loser for a second straight game, it searched for a way to prolong this journey.

"It wasn't as we planned", Holtby said. That's great leadership. That's ownership when your players are in the room talking about stuff because that's galvanizing.

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