1. Steady Defense
It is not a surprise that the Penguins defense has not been playing all that well these playoffs, and more specifically, this series. With that being said, that doesn’t mean the team’s D-core is weak, but rather they aren’t playing as well as they can. For the Pens to win game six, the defense needs to make smarter pinches, get the puck out when they can, and overall just perform better than they have been. More specifically, Kris Letang, Jamie Oleksiak, and Olli Maatta have to be better.
2.Matt Murray stepping up
The next key to winning deals with the last line of defense for the Pens. Matt Murray hasn’t been fantastic this series, but he hasn’t been bad. He’s been good. The only problem with that is that Braden Holtby is playing as well, if not better than he was in 16-17. Holtby has been a major difference maker in this series because of how solid he has been, so for the Penguins to win game six, Murray has to be able to perform just as good or even better than Holtby.
3. Get better in transition
Another soft spot for the Penguins this series has been the amount of rush and in transition offense that they have allowed to the Capitals. At the end of game four, the Capitals were beating the Penguins in the number of odd man rushes by a large margin of 22-7. With numbers like those it is a wonder the series isn’t already over. The Penguins need to change this stat in their favor as best they can to consistently stay one step ahead of the Caps.
4. Secondary Scoring
At the beginning of this series, not many fans would have predicted that a large amount of the Penguins goals would come from Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, and Patric Hornqvist, all of whom are on the same line most times. If the Penguins continue to rest the offensive responsibilities on these three, the series will be over tonight. Not only do EvgeniMalkin and Phil Kessel need to step up, but guys like Conor Sheary, Derick Brassard, andeven Dominik Simon need to play better offensively if the Pens want to win game six.
5.Better scoring chances
Through the first two or even three games, it seemed that the only way the Penguins could score was by a shot that was tipped from the point. Even so much so, that in game three multiple players were just letting the puck fly from the half-wall because that is the only offense they could generate. If the Penguins want to be able to get through Holtby, they first need to break through the Capitals defense and generate high quality chances rather than a large quantity of subpar shots.