Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers have delivered exciting hockey in the first 2 games of their Stanley Cup Playoff matchup. The games have been edgy, and there has been plenty of nastiness and snarl between both clubs.
With good goaltending and excellent special teams play, the Capitals have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the series. The Flyers played well in Game 2, but were not able to break Braden Holtby.
There has been some good and bad play from both sides. Heading into Philadelphia, both teams will have to perform better for Games 3 and 4. What adjustments do the Flyers and Capitals need to make heading into the upcoming contests?
UP 2-0, THE CAPITALS NEED TO…
1. WEATHER THE STORM
The Philadelphia Flyers will come flying out of the gates for Game 3. Before Game 3 begins, the Flyers will be paying tribute to late owner Ed Snider, who passed away on April 11. The emotion and intensity levels will be high at puck drop.
The Capitals must be ready to go from the start. Braden Holtby faced 19 shots in the first period of Game 2. The Capitals must be better defensively at the start of the game. If the Capitals can take the Philly crowd out of the equation early, that will give them a big boost.
2. LIMIT THE PENALTIES
The Capitals have taken some unnecessary penalties in the first two games that have almost cost them. In Game 1, the Capitals took 3 minor penalties in the 1st period alone. In Game 2, the Capitals took a pair of penalties in the 1st and 2nd periods.
When the Capitals take the ice in Philadelphia, they need to avoid the rough stuff, and they need to not take any retaliatory penalties. The Flyers will probably try to goat the Capitals into taking unnecessary penalties. The Capitals need to try to game the two games in Philadelphia at 5-on-5.
3. POUNCE ON STEVE MASON EARLY
Minus the 100 ft. goal he gave up in Game 2, Mason has actually made some quality saves in this series.
The bad goal he gave up in Game 2 could still be lingering around in his head. The Capitals should try and take advantage of this in Games 3 and 4. The more “bad” or “questionable” goals he gives up, the lower his confidence will be as this series moves along.
DOWN 0-2, THE FLYERS NEED TO…
1. SCORE IN BUNCHES
The Capitals played in a lot of games during the regular season where they had to overcome early deficits. The Flyers need to take advantage of this, and they need to score early and often against the Capitals. The Capitals tend to give up goals in bunches. The Flyers need to try and put doubt in Braden Holtby’s mind, and they need to try and rattle him while they are playing in Philadelphia.
2. SOLVE THE CAPITALS PK AND SCORE ON THE POWERPLAY
The Flyers are 0/8 on the powerplay in this series. They have blown some key opportunities in the first couple of games. 5-on-3 chances have to be converted in the playoffs. If a team does not score on 5-on-3 powerplay chances, it will usually come back to haunt that team.
3. LIMIT TURNOVERS
In the first two games, the Flyers have 16 giveaways. A majority of the Flyers giveaways have come from their defensemen.
The Flyers must limit turnovers against the Capitals because the Capitals are a pretty good transition team. The Capitals top two lines can score goals at any moment, and the Flyers should want to avoid turnovers in the neutral and defensive zones.
By: George Foussekis