WASHINGTON -- The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to tie their series with the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of this electrifying matchup on Saturday night (puck drop at 8:25 p.m. ET). Here’s what to watch for:
Crosby vs. the top line: Sidney Crosby's line was on for all three of T.J. Oshie's goals in Game 1, but Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan had zero intention of shying away from that top line matchup in Game 2.
"No, I'm not going to avoid it," Sullivan said Saturday morning. "We don't mind that matchup. I think Sid's line can play against anybody and he's done that all year long and they've produced. Even though they didn't score the other night doesn't mean they didn't have quality chances or have a fair amount of, I think, offensive zone time. We liked a lot of what Sid's line did, and we feel as though if they continue to play the game the way they're playing, they're going to end up on the score sheet."
Crosby had an outstanding two-way season; the defensive part of his game remains so underrated. You can expect a bounce-back game from his line in Game 2 if indeed they are matched up again versus Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Oshie.
"We play against a lot of top lines like that and obviously their dynamic is special, they've got a great playmaker and a guy that doesn't need a lot of room," Crosby said Friday. "It's about being aware of that, but we have to go out there and have the attitude that we can score too. That's why you work all year on playing good defensively, playing as a unit out there, and kind of letting the offense take care of itself. I don't think we need to change a thing. We need to make sure we're paying attention to the right things and not giving them easy things, but they're a good line and they're going to get chances. We've got to get ours, too."
Kunitz in?: Chris Kunitz, who left Game 1 after taking a puck to the side of the head, skated Saturday morning and Sullivan said the veteran Penguins winger would be a game-time decision.
"He’s feeling better," Sullivan said. "He’s a tough kid. He wants to play. He'll be a game-time decision. I think he was fortunate with the way that happened. It was kind of a fluke incident."
Kunitz said Saturday morning after the skate that he felt pretty good and sounded like a guy that was expecting to play. As for getting hit by a puck while sitting on the bench, that’s a first for him.
"It’s the first time where you’re sitting on the bench like that," said Kunitz. "I just tried to turn and avoid the puck and it found its way up my ear."
Kunitz missed the rest of the game, he said, because he was undergoing the concussion-testing protocol.
Wilson's side of the story: A day after getting fined for his knee-on-knee hit on Connor Sheary, rugged Caps winger Tom Wilson insisted he wasn’t trying to injure the rookie Penguins forward.
"Honestly, on that play I wasn’t even going to hit him," Wilson said Saturday morning. "That wasn’t my intention. I was just trying to kind of bluff check him, give him a fake and kind of go to the bench and our legs got caught up. Hockey’s a fast game, and sometimes stuff happens that you don’t really intend on. I think it looked a lot worse than the outcome was. The impact really wasn’t that great. He was trying to get out of the way. Just kind of an unfortunate circumstance, but the league does their job. They watch pretty much all my hits, I’m sure. When you play the game hard, you’re going to get under a microscope, and you’ve just got to make sure you’re playing within the rules."
Wasn’t trying to hurt him? OK, Tom.