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Capitals' Orlov must improve in Game 2

Defenseman focuses on eliminating mistakes after Game 1 benching against Penguins

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- After an odd-man rush in the second period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round led to a Pittsburgh Penguins goal that tied the game, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz benched defenseman Dmitry Orlov for nearly an entire period.

Washington won 4-3 in overtime on T.J. Oshie's hat-trick goal. Trotz said after the game he wasn't happy with Orlov's work on the play that led to the goal but he's not dwelling on it.

"I didn't like his 1-on-1 play yesterday in a couple situations," Trotz said. "He's got do a better job, [Orlov] knows that as well. We'll just move forward from that."

Penguins center Nick Bonino skated into the Capitals zone with Orlov covering him. Defenseman Nate Schmidt collided with Orlov near the blue line and Orlov lost his man, setting Bonino free to put a shot on goal. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy scored on the rebound and tied the game 1-1.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Lovejoy finishes Bonino's pretty move

Orlov got on the ice one more time during the game, a 25-second shift in the third period. He finished with 5:44 of ice time.

"I'm sure he knows he made a couple mistakes. I'm sure we all made a couple mistakes last night, so you just try to clear your mind today and [have] a new opportunity tomorrow," Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "He had a really good year for us, and he's a big part of the team. We'll need his best going forward and I'm sure he'll be a lot better tomorrow."

Schmidt played 12:13 and admitted the collision with Orlov on Lovejoy's goal was the result of a miscommunication on their part.

"We both had the same idea," Schmidt said. "We were both stepping up and trying to make a play at the blue line. Trying to get the puck out of his hands. Things happen. We squeeze a lot during the year and sometimes that stuff does happen. I've just got to do a little bit of a better job of reading off what he's doing and vice versa."

Trotz didn't say Friday if Orlov would be scratched for Game 2, but said the leash for his young defensemen is a lot shorter in the playoffs since there isn't time to teach the lessons that are learned during the regular season. He's often talked about the need to protect the third pair from tougher competition and thus far has been able to do that with the top four defensemen taking on the tougher minutes. 

"I'm not thinking about not playing," Orlov, 24, said. "I just watch the game and hope [we] win. We take Game 1, and right now I need to move forward and focus on the second game. Every player wants to play. I don't know what's going to happen right now, but I hope that I will play."

Orlov played in all 82 regular-season games for the Capitals and scored 29 points in his first season back from a wrist injury that sidelined him in 2014-15. He has one point through seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"Last night, that was not our best, but things like that happen, they're a skill team," Schmidt said. "We also need to make sure we're a little bit cleaner on our breakouts, especially defensively."

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