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Round 2

Capitals looking for improvements in Game 4 against Penguins

Coach Barry Trotz says Washington must be more consistent in offensively, defensively in series

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- After a 3-2 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Monday, the Washington Capitals feel like they have new life heading into Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

On the verge of trailing the best-of-7 series 3-0 after letting a 2-0 lead slip away in the final 1:53 of the third period, Kevin Shattenkirk's power-play goal 3:13 into overtime rescued the Capitals, who have more work to do.

"We're just going to look forward to next game," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday. "Right now we're down 2-1 in the series. We have to have our best game to this point and we're going to have to raise it to another level."

The Penguins will be without center Sidney Crosby for Game 4 after he sustained a concussion on a cross-check to the head from defenseman Matt Niskanen 5:24 into the first period of Game 3. Niskanen received a five-minute major for cross-checking and a game misconduct, and will play after not receiving supplemental discipline from the NHL Department of Player Safety.


[RELATED: Complete Capitals-Penguins series coverage]


The Penguins will also be without right wing Conor Sheary, who sustained a concussion in a second period collision with teammate Patric Hornqvist. Trotz said he expected the Capitals to be at full strength health-wise after getting defenseman Karl Alzner back for Game 3 following a six-game absence with an upper-body injury.

The Capitals said they played better in Game 3 until the Penguins scored twice with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury pulled for an extra attacker. Two of Washington's three goals came on the power play, including Nicklas Backstrom's 5-on-3 goal with 6:55 remaining in the first period, and Shattenkirk's winner.

"We've got to continue to try and generate some offense," Trotz said. "Both teams are playing pretty tight defensively now. We've got to come up with another goal. Our special teams were good [Monday]. We'll look at that 6-on-5 area. I think every aspect of our game can be tightened up. Defensively we can tighten up even more, through the neutral zone and offensively I felt like that we had some real good looks.

"We got pucks behind Fleury and we got it to the goal line and then it sort of stalled out there. We've just got to go the extra distance see if we can get another goal or two there."

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