Braves scratch Mike Minor from start with more shoulder problems

Braves scratch Mike Minor from start with more shoulder problems

Uh oh.

Coaches, commits react on Twitter to 5-star's Maryland pledge

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Coaches, commits react on Twitter to 5-star's Maryland pledge

Thanks to a commitment from five-star defensive end Joshua Kaindoh of IMG Academy (Fla.), DJ Durkin has made one of the biggest recruiting splashes in recent program history and he has only been on the job for four months. 

In the immediate wake of the commitment, Maryland commits and coaches (in the fashion still permissable by the NCAA) made their feelings known on Twitter.

Defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim

Defensive line coach Mike London

Offensive coordinator Walt Bell

Strength coach Rick Court

Four-star DL commit Cam Spence

Four-star QB commit Kasim Hill

5 stats explaining the Capitals' Game 2 loss to the Penguins

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5 stats explaining the Capitals' Game 2 loss to the Penguins

BY RICH GOLDBERG (@goldystats)

Here are five stats that tell the story of the Capitals' Game 2 loss to the Penguins: 

Just shoot me: The Capitals had 5 shots in the first period and 5 shots in 2nd period. This was the Capitals third playoff game since the 1991-92 season that Washington had 5 shots or fewer in each of the first two periods, the last in 2012 against Boston.

It’s not Fehr: Eric Fehr had 0 game-winning goals in 37 playoff appearances with the Capitals. Fehr already has 2 playoff game winners for the Penguins in seven games, including Game 2 against his former team.

2 little: The Capitals had 2 losses in 49 regular season games (45-2-2) when allowing 2 goals or fewer. That hasn’t cut it in the playoffs. Washington lost its 3rd postseason matchup when allowing 2 goals or less, dropping to 4-3 in such games.

Kris-tal clear: With Olie Maatta out, someone’s ice time was going up in Game 2. Kris Letang logged 35:22, his most ever in a regulation game. It’s the most the Capitals have allowed to any player in a regulation game since Adrian Aucoin skated over 40 minutes in October 2002. 

Not 2009: Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby scored a combined 16 goals in their 2009 playoff series. After 2 games this series, the two stars have combined for 1 assist. Crosby has 2 goals (regular season/playoffs) in his last 11 games against the Capitals.

Williams: 'We were getting embarrassed out there'

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Williams: 'We were getting embarrassed out there'

If the Capitals hope to get past the Pittsburgh Penguins and make it to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era they’re going to need to start possessing the puck a lot more than they have in the first two games of their second-round playoff series.

“Call it what it was,” Capitals right wing Justin Williams said of the Caps’ 2-1 loss to the Penguins in Game 2 Saturday night at Verizon Center. “The first two periods the ice was tilted a little bit, no doubt. Good for them. They came in desperately and we didn’t answer until the third and it turned out to be too late.”

The Penguins outshot the Capitals 28-10 in the opening 40 minutes of Game 2 but held only a 1-0 lead thanks to the goaltending of Braden Holtby. The Caps turned the tables in the third period by owning a 14-7 shot advantage, but after Marcus Johansson tied the score on a power-play goal, Pittsburgh’s Eric Fehr won it with 4:28 to play.

“That was a huge goal,” Fehr said. “We weren’t happy letting them back in it with their power-play goal. We were just able to fight back and get the lead back. It’s difficult against a team like that. They had a lot of momentum in the third, and you could tell they were kind of feeding off the crowd and (Pens goalie Matt) Murray made some huge saves for us and gave a chance to get back in it.”

Williams said the Caps needed to give themselves a pep talk after the first two periods. They’ve been outshot 80-59 in the first two games of the series.

“We talked between the second and third, knowing we were getting embarrassed out there,” Williams said.

Williams drew the interference penalty that led to Johansson’s game-tying goal 4:08 into the final period, but the Caps’ second line has been silent the entire post-season with zero goals at even strength.

“We certainly recognize it and know we need to be better for us to win and advance,” Williams said.

The Capitals also gave the Penguins 10 minutes of power-play time with minor penalties to Brooks Orpik (interference), Taylor Chorney (roughing), Evgeny Kuznetsov (goaltender interference) and a too-many-men infraction.

“You’re leaving a lot of pretty talented players on the bench when you’re killing a bunch of penalties,” Caps coach Barery Trotz said. “First two periods, I thought they were way better than us.”

The Caps are a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill this series and have killed off 30 of 31 shorthanded situations in the playoffs.

“Great again, guys have been doing a great job,” said Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who stopped 33 of 35 shots. “Obviously, everyone knows they’re pretty good on the power play. Hopefully, it isn’t called that way again but we battled through it.”

For as much as the Penguins dominated play, the Caps had a chance to go ahead with just under 6 minutes to play when Mike Richards sent an open shot from the slot wide left.  

“I thought we all thought we were going to win when Richie had that point-blank chance that just rolls off the stick,” Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said.

If so, it might have been fool’s gold because the Penguins have played better hockey for longer stretches of the first two games of the series.

“To be honest, we gave the puck away to them and that can’t happen,” said Nicklas Backstrom, who rebounded from a tough Game 1 by winning 18 of his 20 faceoffs, most of them against Sidney Crosby (1-for-14).

“We make lots of turnovers, make bad decisions,” Ovechkin said. “We didn’t have any traffic in front of the net. We have to find a different way to take the puck to the net.”

They’ll get that chance Monday night in Pittsburgh.