The Washington Capitals are in a hole vs the Islanders.
The Washington Capitals find themselves in an 0-2 hole after the first two games of the postseason. Perhaps the best news about this is they didn’t technically lose two home games and they won’t have to go to raucous away atmosphere for two games. The bad news doesn’t change. Washington will have to win four of their next five games to get out of the first round.
Every game is a chance to learn something, two games in, I believe we have learned some things. Or maybe we have confirmed some things that we might have thought going into this series. Either way, here are a couple of things that we can look at.
The Islanders will work harder than the Capitals
Again, this isn’t something we all didn’t know coming into the series, this is something that has just been confirmed over the first two games.
The Capitals have a lot more skilled players than the New York Islanders. That’s not meant as an insult to the Isles players, it’s just a fact. But we’ve seen how far those skilled players will get you if they don’t work as hard as their opponents. Potential spoiler, it’s not very far. The Caps had a lot more skill than the Hurricanes a year ago and Carolina knocked out Washington in round number one.
There is one moment that particularly irritates me about watching game two however. The score is 3-2 with less than five minutes to go. The Capitals are down 0-1 in the series and have been talking about how they’ll win this game for an injured teammate. You’d think that being down a goal late in the game you would see urgency and you would see them winning races and battles.
It was the opposite in my eyes. It was New York who was winning the races and winning battles and the Capitals could hardly hold onto the puck. To make matters worse, it was pressure from the Isles that led to a goal just a couple of minutes later to make it 4-2 and basically end the game.
How the team who is down in the game late and down in the series gets outworked is beyond me. I don’t understand how a team as good as the Capitals lets that happen. Bad team I would understand, not this team.
High danger shot attempts is a stat I like to look at during games and series. It can (and just as easily cannot) tell you how hard a team is willing to battle. How well are teams getting into the high danger areas in the middle of the ice? Those hard to get to areas that you might take punishment for if you go there.
So far New York is more than doubling up the Capitals in this stat. In two games in this series the high danger attempts while 5v5 are 24-10. High danger goals are 5-2. This is where goals are scored in the playoffs. If you’re losing this battle badly you better hope you’re getting good goaltending. Or else, good luck!