Washington’s poor regular season start — zero wins, two losses, 10 goals allowed — has defenseman Karl Alzner feeling out of his element.
“I almost feel like a fish out of water right now,” Alzner told CSN Washington. “I’m too busy trying to be in the right position mentally instead of just being there. I know where to be. I’m over-thinking it.
“I think a lot of guys are probably in the same boat.”
That these words are coming from Alzner says a lot. He’s been relatively error-free through his first two games, posting an even plus-minus rating and committing zero giveaways while averaging over 21 minutes a night.
(A far cry from, say, Marcus Johansson, who has a minus-3 rating through two games and leads the team with three giveaways.)
To be fair, the Caps are in the midst of a big undertaking. They’re switching their style of play to head coach Adam Oates’ preferred style — where the emphasis is on skating, pressure and forcing turnovers — but haven’t had much time to learn it.
A brief training camp and two regular season games seemingly haven’t given Washington enough time to adjust to the new style.
“When you get tired your decision making goes — that’s the first thing,” winger Troy Brouwer explained. “Your brain starts to get lazy and then everything else follows. We’re having a tough time with just being crisp, being sharp.
“Whether that’s just practice, whether that’s out of practice, whether that’s just us not paying attention to details, we gotta crack that and we gotta crack it fast.”
The Stanley Cup Playoffs often feel like a battle of attrition, which only makes the introduction of fresh faces that much more compelling.
Try this on for size: with their playoff lives on the line, the Ottawa Senators will see the playoff debut of 2015 first-rounder* Colin White against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. It’s also just his third game at the NHL level, overall.
After rolling with seven defensemen in Game 5, Guy Boucher is opting for a traditional alignment of 12 forwards and six defensemen.
White has that high-level pedigree and possibly fresh legs – even just relatively speaking – so it’s not out of the question for the 20-year-old center to make an impact.
Check out the full roster report here (note: Pittsburgh’s going with the same group as Game 5). Scott Wilson is good to go for the Penguins.
* – 21st overall.
It’s almost always intriguing to see how a team responds to a tough playoff loss, but that fascination spikes even more if said team fell by an especially lopsided score.
We’ve seen the Pittsburgh Penguins respond to some blowouts with big wins, but now the shoe is on the other foot; how will the Ottawa Senators rebound from the 7-0 shellacking they suffered in Game 5?
Well, if you ask Guy Boucher, they’ve developed a track record that shows they’re willing to fight with their backs against the wall.
Great stuff, right? It’s honestly too bad that Boucher’s defensive system isn’t always as entertaining as his quotes.
Speaking of how Game 5 feeds into tonight’s Game 6, the video above this post’s headline discusses how Ottawa’s goaltenders might be feeling heading into Tuesday.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6
Last night, the Nashville Predators demoralized the Ducks and advanced to their first-ever Stanley Cup Final. Will we learn their opponent tonight or on Thursday?
That’s up to how the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators perform in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Will Sidney Crosby and the Penguins follow that 7-0 rout with a close-out performance, or will Erik Karlsson and the Senators avenge that embarrassing loss to send this series to a decisive Game 7?
Find out on NBCSN at tonight. You can also watch the game online and via the NBC Sports App.
Here’s what you need to know:
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators (Pens lead 3-2)
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)
Check out the highlights from Pittsburgh’s 7-0 win in Game 5
—Pens redefining defense by committee
—Four things the Pens need to do to eliminate the Sens
It’s an offseason of change for SHL champion HV71.
In the days following the league title, HV71 saw No. 1 goalie Linus Soderstrom sign his ELC with the Isles and d-man Andreas Borgman — the league’s rookie of the year — ink with the Leafs.
Earlier today, HV71 winger Filip Sandberg signed a two-year deal with San Jose. Shortly after that, Columbus announced it inked Sandberg’s running mate up front, Kevin Stenlund, to a three-year, entry-level deal.
Stenlund, 20, was the Blue Jackets’ second-round pick (58th overall) at the 2015 draft. He’s coming off a good year, setting career highs in goals, assists, points and games played during the regular season, then adding 10 points in 16 playoff appearances.
And he might have a chance to build on that campaign.
Per the Dispatch, the Blue Jackets expect Stenlund to play next year in Sweden, rather than try to make the move overseas. It’s possible the Isles could make the same decision with Soderstrom — meaning it’s not all bad for HV71.