3 Reasons The Capitals Lost In The First Round

Why the Caps got swept
New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Three
New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Three / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams

This is probaly going to be short and sweet. The Capitals lost the special teams battle and it wasn't even close. There was actually a lot of special teams play in this series. In four games the Capitals had 17 power play opportunities, and the Rangers had 16 chances. While I'm writing this that is second and third most in the NHL in the playoffs.

The big difference? The Capitals went 2-17, the Rangers went 6-16. The Capitals power play percentage was a lame 11.8%, the Rangers finished the series clicking at 37.5%.

Something that really hurt the Capitals in this series was shorthanded goals. They allowed two shorties this series, one in Game 2 and the other in game 3. In game two they had a power play while down 3-2, a power play goal obviously makes it 3-3. Instead they allow a goal and go down 4-2. In game 3 they had a chance to take the lead on the power play with the score being tied 1-1. They allow another shorty, go down 2-1 and that ended up being the game winner.

No other team has allowed more than one short handed goal so far in these playoffs. The Capitals allowed two. Not that it's ever a great time to allow a short handed goal, but the times in games they let them up didn't do Washington any favors either.

Special teams can decide series. The Rangers scored four more power play goals than the Capitals. To make things worse, their power play essentially drew even. They scored two goals, they allowed two goals. When you're trying to pull an upset you can't be that badly outplayed on special teams. The Capitals were, and it's a big reason we're here so early.