Here’s how the Washington Capitals can beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Washington Capitals will also see the Tampa Bay Lightning when the season resumes in the Round Robin format thus continuing their postseason rivalry.
Let’s take a dive to see how the Caps matchup with the Bolts and how they can come away with a victory.
The Lightning finished slightly ahead of the Capitals in the regular season, amassing a 43-21-6 record for 92 points and a .657 points percentage, compared to the Caps 90 points and .652 points percentage.
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Despite this, Washington swept the regular season series winning all three games by a combined score of 12-6.
They first met on Black Friday on Nov. 29th with the Caps coming out on top 4-3 in overtime thanks to a game-winning goal from Dmitry Orlov. The Caps also got goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jakub Vrana and Alex Ovechkin.
Their second meeting came on Dec. 14 where the Caps cruised to a 5-2 win in Tampa. Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller, Garnet Hathaway, T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson all scored for the Caps
One week later the Caps would complete the sweep on their home ice to the delight of the pre-Christmas crowd at Capital One Arena. They got goals from Radko Gudas, Orlov and Nic Dowd in a 3-1 win.
Nikita Kucherov led the Bolts with 33 goals and 52 assists for 85 points. Steven Stamkos added 29 goals and 37 assists for 66 points. Andrei Vasilevskiy carries a 35-14-3 record in goal with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
Expect a lot of offense when these two teams meet on the ice at the very likely location of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a place the Caps know a thing or two about winning at. The Caps have four 20-goal scorers while the Lightning have four players that have scored 25 or more.
The Lightning scored an average of 3.47 goals per game, .5 higher than the Caps who come out to 3.42. That gives a slight edge to the Bolts unless Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom step up and the Caps get help up top from Evgeny Kuznetsov and down low from Lars Eller. If everybody clicks the Caps will be fine.
The Caps will also need their defense to step up, particularly Nick Jensen, Michal Kempny and Radko Gudas. The Lightning boast the reigning Norris Trophy winner in Victor Hedman and the defensive depth is strong with Ryan McDonagh and even former Capital Kevin Shattenkirk.
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After having the best power play in the league last year, the Lightning have dipped to being tied for fifth with the Toronto Maple Leafs with a success rate of 23.1 percent. The Caps are slightly below them at 17th with a 19.4 rate. The Caps power play must step up if they want to take down the Bolts.
We can’t wait for hockey to come back. If you missed our early preview of their matchup with the Boston Bruins you can check that out here. We’ll have a look at the matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow.