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The Capitals were not pleased with the officiating in Game 1

The Capitals were not pleased with the officiating in Game 1

They did not want to talk about it, but it was clear after Game 1 that the Caps were not pleased about how Game 1 was officiated.

In a tense postseason matchup between two rivals that featured several scrums and dustups, Washington was not given a single power play and was shorthanded twice after what looked like soft calls.

RELATED: Prediction recap: Sidney Crosby ruins everything

Alex Ovechkin took an interference penalty in the first period for a weak hit on Patric Hornqvist and Matt Niskanen was given a slashing penalty for swiping at a puck just as Marc-Andre Fleury tried to freeze it.

“For all the stuff that was going on, I'm not going to criticize the referees,” Trotz said when asked about Niskanen’s penalty. “They do an outstanding job, but at the same time, I thought with all the stuff that was going on, it was a pretty light one.”

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, was given only one penalty on the night, a matching minor between Scott Wilson and Kevin Shattenkirk.

Considering how good the Caps are on the power play, it was frustrating for the team to not get that unit on the ice. That frustration was compounded by what looked like two rather soft calls against Washington.

Following the game, the players would not criticize the referees, but they still made their displeasure known.

“No comment,” Niskanen said when asked about the officiating.

“It was kind of weird game,” Ovechkin said. “No penalties on their side. Sometimes those kind of [expletive] happen and you just have to fight through it and just put the puck in.”

MORE CAPITALS: 3 key observations: Pittsburgh capitalizes

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Prediction recap: Sidney Crosby ruins everything

Prediction recap: Sidney Crosby ruins everything

The Caps battled back from a 2-0 deficit but ultimately fell 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions for Game 1.

1. Washington will score first - Wrong

Neither team was able to score in the first period, but Sidney Crosby made short work of this prediction in the second period with a goal just 12 seconds in. He then added a second for good measure at the 1:04 mark to put the Penguins up 2-0.

RELATED: 3 key observations: Pittsburgh capitalizes

2. Patric Hornqvist will draw a penalty - Correct

It was a softy and it wasn’t for the reason I thought it would be, but it counts. Alex Ovechkin knocked into Hornqvist as the Penguins rushed the Caps’ offensive zone early in the first period. When I wrote this prediction, I expected him to get knocked around a bit in front of the net, not in the neutral zone. Considering I got the other two predictions wrong, however, yeah, I’m taking the point.

3. Sidney Crosby will not get a point – Very Wrong

Not only did Crosby get a point, he got two to match his total from all six games in last season’s series. And not only did he get two points, they were both goals.

2017 Results: Crosby ruined the Caps' night and my predictions. The man must be stopped!

Correct: 9
Wrong: 11
Push: 1

MORE CAPITALS: David Letterman shows up at Game 1 of Caps-Penguins

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3 key observations from Game 1: Pittsburgh capitalizes

3 key observations from Game 1: Pittsburgh capitalizes

The Pittsburgh Penguins seized the early series lead with a 3-2 victory in Game 1 on Thursday. Here are three key observations from the game.

1. Sidney Crosby is already having a better series than last year

Despite losing to the Penguins in last year’s series, the Caps actually played Crosby very tough, allowing him only two assists and no goal in six games. After Game 1, he already has two goals. That’s a bad sign. While limiting Pittsburgh’s secondary scoring will be key, Washington also cannot allow Pittsburgh’s top player to run wild on them. He will make them pay for every mistake they make.

RELATED: Jill Sorenson has a message for the pessimistic Caps fans

2. Braden Holtby is still not at his best

After a shaky start to the Toronto series, Holtby rebounded with two strong performances in Games 5 and 6 to help lead the Caps to the series win. Thursday was a step back. You cannot blame him for the first goal. What is a goalie supposed to do on a 2-on-1 against Crosby? The second goal, however, Holtby got his glove on the initial shot by Olli Maatta, but was unable to catch it. The resulting rebound was tipped to Crosby for the goal. Make no mistake, these are the best two teams left in the playoffs. It will take a superhuman effort to win. Allowing three goals on 21 shots isn’t it. I still do not think it is time to even consider putting in Philipp Grubauer, however. Holtby is not the reason why the Caps are losing, he is just not playing at a level in which he will be able to steal a game for Washington anytime soon.

3. Pittsburgh forwards play incredibly high

All year Trotz has stressed to his forward the importance of getting back on defense and not getting caught too far up the ice. Pittsburgh‘s forwards do the exact opposite. When back on defense, the Penguins’ forwards play very high in the defensive zone. There were even times when a forward was skating at mid-ice when Washington was still attacking. Pittsburgh is a fast team that likes to push the rush. By playing so aggressive, they are able to get the puck out of the zone and push the attack faster. But this comes at a price as they leave themselves more vulnerable in the defensive zone. The Caps need to be aware of how quickly Pittsburgh can push the counter, but they also need to take advantage of their vulnerability defensively.

MORE CAPITALS: Caps' locker room 'somber' after Game 1 loss