Capitals' Skill is No Match for Penguins' Will

Patric Hornqvist's play in Game 4 is the perfect personification of what the Penguins had clearly dedicated themselves to becoming in the wake of losing Sidney Crosby.



It’s hard to explain but easy to understand.

The Penguins are beating the Washington Capitals on intangibles.

The will to win, the understanding of how to win in the postseason and the ability to apply what’s required based on what the game demands from night to night have been as one-sided in this series as time spent in the offensive zone, shots attempted, shots on goal and most of the other tangible, statistical measurables.

It’s not that the Caps have lacked heart, character or urgency.

But the Pens have had more of all of the above.

They’ve also had the better goaltending.

“There’s no question we’d like to spend more time in the offensive zone, we’d like to have the puck a little bit more,” head coach Mike Sullivan allowed after the Penguins had been out-shot, 38-18, and out-attempted, 72-38, on Wednesday night in Game 4.

“But I give our players so much credit because of their commitment to defending and paying a price. This is a very good team offensively that we’re playing against. These guys are willing to block shots and defend hard and get into people’s bodies and that’s what I think jumps out at me with our group right now.”

That and the three-games-to-one series lead the Pens will bring with them to the Verizon Center for Game 5 on Saturday night.

Their 3-2 victory in Game 4 played out pretty much as the three previous games had.

The Pens have been out-shot in all four games.

And they’ve blocked more shots than they’ve managed to get to the Capitals’ net in three of the four.

But the Pens have also been as opportunistic in the offensive end as they have committed to paying that price the Caps have been extracting in the defensive zone.

In Game 4, Patric Hornqvist was both.

Hornqvist opened the scoring with a breakaway goal and then blocked a shot a few minutes later that temporarily knocked him out of the game and threatened his ability to finish it.

“I’m fine, I’m standing here,” was all he was willing to say about his damaged state afterward.

There couldn’t have been a better personification of what the Penguins had clearly dedicated themselves to becoming in the wake of losing Sidney Crosby in a postseason they had opened knowing they’d be without Kris Letang.

“That was all will,” Hornqvist assessed of Game 4. “There was not much skill out there.”

Sullivan wasn’t about to argue the point.

The inclination to do so seemingly never even occurred to him.

Rather than bemoan the aesthetics, Sullivan preferred to celebrate the Penguins’ “willingness and their commitment just to compete and defend and do what it takes.”

Minus a couple of game-changers, the Penguins followed Hornqvist on the way to changing the game.

“He has an insatiable appetite to win and we love his fire,” Sullivan gushed. “I think it’s contagious on the bench. He’s a passionate guy, he wears his emotions right on his chest, and I really think it helps our team.”

It’s that –– along with Marc-Andre Fleury –– for which the Caps just haven’t had an answer.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

The fifth annual Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference brings writers from across the country together to improve their craft.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Station's Hours Expand and Le Lyonnais Opens Downtown

Station's Hours Expand and Le Lyonnais Opens Downtown

Station, the excellent Bloomfield eatery, now offers lunch service. The Big Y Group opens a French bistro in the space previously occupied by Sonoma Grille.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

The third outpost of local distillery Wigle, found in the Omni William Penn Hotel, is an instant destination for cocktail fans.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

A win will send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals for a second year in a row and re-write team history.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

Reviews of "Alien: Covenant" and "Everything, Everything," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

Pennsylvania native Jaclyn Jordan brings her newest collection to the Blanc de Blanc Bridal Boutique in Carrick.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Explore lavish homes and gardens with the West Allegheny Historic District’s annual Tour and Tasting, or go on the hunt for hidden treasure during The Great Mexican War Streets Yard Sale.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Explore Your Future with Point Park University

Explore Your Future with Point Park University

The university will host three summer workshops for high school students from July 17-20.

Comments