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5 Keys: Penguins at Capitals, Game 2

Washington, Pittsburgh looking to assert their preferred style

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / NHL.com Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins play Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Verizon Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). The Capitals won 4-3 in overtime in Game 1 on Thursday.

Here are 5 Keys for Game 2:

1. PUCK POSSESSION OR TRANSITION?

The Penguins were able to dictate their style of play for much of Game 1 and create scoring chances in transition off rush plays with their speed and skill. The Capitals would rather play a puck-possession game and wear the Penguins down over the course of the series with their size and strength

In Game 1, the Capitals demonstrated they can excel at the rush game too, but know exchanging chances that way with the Penguins can be dangerous.

"I want my team to play our game and [Penguins coach Mike Sullivan] wants his team to play their game, and whoever can force their will on the other team a little bit, usually that team comes out ahead," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Saturday.

Video: Penguins fine with Game 1 effort despite loss

2. CROSBY VS. BACKSTROM 

Trotz showed in the first round he likes to go power against power and matched his top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie against the Philadelphia Flyers top line of Brayden Schenn, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. Trotz did it again in Game 1 against the Penguins and used Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie against Conor Sheary, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist. The Capitals won that matchup 3-0 in terms of goals, with Oshie scoring three times, but Crosby's line had its share of scoring chances and Crosby dominated on faceoffs, going 12-4 head-to-head against Backstrom.

Trotz has great trust in Backstrom, who he said deserved to be a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the League's top defensive forward, so expect Trotz to stick with that matchup. Although Sullivan said he possibly will move Crosby around to get him away from Backstrom, he was comfortable with the matchup.

3. WILL MAATTA REBOUND?

Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta struggled in Game 1 and was at least partially responsible on Oshie's first two goals. Maatta's turnover at the left point in the Capitals end led to Oshie's goal that tied the game 33 seconds after the Penguins took a 2-1 lead. He also was slow to react on Oshie's backhand goal that gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead 3:23 into the third period.

Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov had a similar tough time in Game 1, being victimized by Nick Bonino before Ben Lovejoy scored the Penguins' first goal, and getting beat off the wall by Phil Kessel for a scoring chance early in the third period. Trotz sat Orlov after that and it appears former Penguin Taylor Chorney will take his spot in the lineup for Game 2.

Video: PIT@WS, Gm1: Oshie steals feed, races in for snipe

4. POWERING UP

After both teams dominated on the power play in the first round, the Capitals were 0-for-4 and the Penguins were 0-for-2 in Game 1. Expect both to make adjustments for Game 2.

The Penguins had two shots on goal on their two power plays. The Capitals at least were able to gain some momentum with four shots on goal on their first power play, but managed two shots on goal during their last three chances.

"Sometimes you have more opportunities than you think, but different teams, they kill the penalty because they're good and they know exactly what we're going to do," Ovechkin said. "So we're good enough to adjust to what they give us and we have to take it."

5. MATT MURRAY 

Penguins rookie goaltender Matt Murray allowed four goals on 35 shots in Game 1; he had allowed four goals on 89 shots in winning the final three games of the Penguins' first round series against the New York Rangers. Murray, 21, probably should have made the save Oshie's second goal, which slid under his right pad, and got over in time to stop Oshie's wraparound goal in overtime, but had it go in off the shaft of his stick and right pad.

Sullivan sounded confident Murray will bounce back.

"Matt comes to the rink every day, he works, tries to get better [and] has the same professional approach, the same demeanor about him," Sullivan said.

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