Penguins take Game 4 without Crosby

Penguins take Game 4 without Crosby

Without Crosby, the Pens looked to keep rolling and win a big game at home to get ahead on the Caps. The Caps looked to capitalize with the best player in the world out. The road team has won all three games so far this series. Through the first three games, the speed of the Penguins forwards has been a big problem for the Caps. Right away this was on display. Two quick passes out of the defensive zone got Hornqvist accelerating up the middle between the two Caps defenders, then beats Holtby…

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Bar down to take the early lead and get the crowd into it. With Crosby out, the other play makers on the Pens are going to need to step up. The Caps would fire back and get some chances but Fluery made a few nice saves, like this one…

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Wilson just needs to elevate the puck there. But a great save by Fluery. Early in the 2nd period, the Pens would get a little lucky. Guentzel would throw the puck towards the net and a skating Orlov would essentially kick the puck perfectly into the net. Brutal. The Caps would control the majority of the period and finally get one to wash out the own-goal. Kuznetsov would get some open ice and wrist a laser past Holtby…

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That is his 3rd goal of the series. They would get some momentum and the ice would fully tilt their way. They would get right back in on the attack and tie the game. Young defender Nate Schmidt would get his first career playoff goal…

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After finally getting the momentum back and tying the game, Carlson would take a penalty to put the Pens on the power play. The Pens would win the face off and go right to work. They got a good chance right away, then restarted and lined Schultz up for a blast…

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Just by the way Malkin was controlling the puck you could tell they were going to get a good chance, and they did. That makes 13 assists for Malkin in the 9 games they have played. Schultz also gets goals in back to back games. He has really stepped up with Letang out. He did last year too. The Caps would out shoot the Pens 17-5 in the 2nd but find themselves down 3-2 going into the 3rd. The Pens would commit a double minor at the end of the 2nd that would carry over into the 3rd for a high-stick that drew blood. But the Caps couldn’t capitalize. Fluery would make so many big saves throughout this game.

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The Caps would not be able to tie the game up and fall to being down 3-1. A late penalty would prevent them from being able to go up 6 on 5. They found themselves down late trying to muster offense desperately late. Fluery was great throughout the entire game, stopping 36 of 38. The Pens would also block 24 shots as a team. Their lock down defense mixed with their quick strike offense looks to make them the team to beat.

Series: 3-1 Pens and headed back to Washington. Last year the Caps were down 3-1 to the Pens and won game 5 at home, then lost game 6 in OT. The year before that, the Caps blew a 3-1 lead to the Rangers. If the Caps can force a game 7, having Justin Williams (7-0 in game 7s all time) could be the ounce of luck they need. But probably not. The Pens are playing on another level and are completely rolling. Even without Crosby tonight they were just as explosive on offense. Fluery is playing great and the defense is blocking shots.

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