Trotz: Cap­i­tals must push for­ward, stay on their toes for full 60 min­utes

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY MATTHEW PARAS

Given the stakes of Game 4 for the Cap­i­tals, Wash­ing­ton coach Barry Trotz called his team’s 5-4 win a “real test for us.” Once again, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a push with a late goal, but this time, the Cap­i­tals held on.

Now as the teams head to the Ver­i­zon Cen­ter for Game 5 on Fri­day with the se­ries tied 2-2, Trotz said the Cap­i­tals have to con­tinue to build to­ward a 60-minute ef­fort.

Toronto has also pushed the Cap­i­tals to step up.

“We are get­ting re­ally men­tally tough in this se­ries, cause we’re get­ting — we’re work­ing, and you cre­ate your own luck,” Trotz said. “They’ve got some strange goals, and that some­times can play in your mind a little bit and we fought through that.

“I thought [Wed­nes­day] was a lot of fight­ing through stuff and we did. That was re­ally good for us.”

Trotz also con­ceded that a 60-minute dom­i­na­tion doesn’t usu­ally hap­pen in the play­offs. But there are ar­eas that the Cap­i­tals will look to clean up, specif­i­cally the way they end pe­ri­ods.

In Game 4, Wash­ing­ton com­mit­ted two penal­ties sec­onds apart near the end of the sec­ond pe­riod to give Toronto a

5-on-3 op­por­tu­nity. The penal­ties were an­other in­stance of men­tal lapses, akin to when Cap­i­tals for­ward Lars Eller was called for high-stick­ing 15 sec­onds be­fore over­time in Game 3, which they lost 4-3. Toronto also scored with 40 sec­onds left in the sec­ond pe­riod in Game 3.

Trotz said his team has to stay on its toes.

“We sat back a little more than we needed to,” Trotz said. “I think we’ve got to con­tinue just push­ing for­ward, stay­ing on top of them. We started just sort of go­ing into that neu­tral-zone forecheck a little bit too eas­ily. And then they put it in there and they’re throw­ing pucks ev­ery­where. They’re not too se­lec­tive, as you can see.”

The Cap­i­tals, though, have been able to limit Toronto’s chances with adjustments, namely break­ing the puck out and hav­ing bod­ies at the net.

Wash­ing­ton was able to main­tain a two-goal lead for most of Game 4 be­cause it forced a se­ries-high 29 give­aways. Toronto cough­ing up the puck al­lowed the Cap­i­tals to con­trol break­aways and dic­tate the of­fense.

“You see some of those goals, (Toronto goalie Fred­erik) An­der­sen’s hav­ing a tough time fight­ing through traf­fic,” Cap­i­tals for­ward Tom Wil­son said af­ter Game 4. “He’s a good goalie, so we’ve got to get in front of him. You see all of the goals in the play­offs; it’s gen­er­ally some traf­fic that causes the goalie to lose it for a sec­ond.”

Trotz has tweaked line­ups, as well. De­fense­man Kevin Shat­tenkirk played only 13 min­utes in Game 4 af­ter be­ing a mi­nus-4 through the se­ries, although his ice time was partly af­fected be­cause the Cap­i­tals had fewer power play chances. Wil­son, mean­while, moved to the third line.

Alex Ovechkin also got more in­volved, with his team hav­ing a plus-6 shot at­tempt dif­fer­en­tial when he was on the ice in full strength, his best out­side of the power play. Trotz pre­vi­ously said it was on him to get Ovechkin more ice time.

Trotz also said the Cap­i­tals are wrap­ping their head around what they have to do.

“I think we’ve fig­ured out how we have to play and we’ve just got to do it for longer,” Trotz said.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals coach Barry Trotz pre­vi­ously said it was on him to get left wing Alex Ovechkin more ice time. In Wed­nes­day’s Game 4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ovechkin was more in­volved as the Cap­i­tals had a plus-6 shot at­tempt dif­fer­en­tial with him on the ice in full strength, his best out­side of the power play.

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