Mike Sullivan and Barry Trotz are battling in streaks for the third year in a row and it’s hard to imagine they still have hidden cards in their game.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals have played 17 games against each other since 2016. Both coaches are familiar with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and all other aspects of the game. teams.
“Every action causes a reaction,” said Trotz. “And it’s special because several gestures have been seen at other times in previous series. The order may not be exactly the same, but there are not 100 different solutions. “
Sullivan made adjustments to allow the Penguins to tie the series at 2-2 and it is now up to Trotz to take the next step in their chess game for the fifth game on Saturday (7pm) in Washington.
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Ovechkin did not score a shot on goal in Game 4 and Tom Wilson was serving the first game in a three-game suspension. Trotz will have to find the right combination to restart the Capitals offensive.
Devante Smith-Pelly played alongside Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov on Thursday, and this trio was 21-9 on penalties. Smith-Pelly may have a second chance on Saturday, but maybe Trotz will turn to another player after reviewing the game. “We will watch this. I think the whole trio needs to do better. They must be productive. ”
On the side of the Penguins, Crosby and Jake Guentzel produce at full speed. The 10 goals of the Penguins in the series were scored while the Crosby trio was on the ice. “I think he’s the best player in the world,” said Sullivan of his captain, who played alongside Guentzel and Dominik Simon in Game 4. “Sid makes his teammates even better, but you have to give Jake credit for the level he has reached.”
Carl Hagelin came back for the Penguins after healing an injury, while the Capitals lost Wilson’s service. It’s a disadvantage for the Capitals, but it’s up to Trotz to make the necessary adjustments.
“I think both teams made adjustments every game,” said Trotz. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not work. In the end, it’s a question of positioning battle, of battle to get the puck back and you have to play games under pressure. Once the plan has been created, it’s up to the players to take charge. ”