The Washington Capitals have looked extremely solid against the Philadelphia Flyers through the first three games of the series, winning all three games and looking to finish the series tonight in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center. Braden Holtby and the special teams units for the Capitals have been very strong through the first three games of the series and are a big reason for this three to nothing lead. Lets take a deeper look at Holtby and the special teams:
Braden Holtby: Holtby has been laser focused through the first three games of this series, and the fans shouldn’t expect anything less in game four tonight. In the most recent NoVa Caps Podcast, Scott Zweibel goes deeper into explaining the reason Holtby has been so effective. Holtby has stopped 91 out of the 93 shots that he has faced in this series. Although a majority of his saves have come from outside shots, he has still done an outstanding job of locating the puck, preventing rebounds, and gloving those strong slappers from Gostisbehere.
Penalty Kill: Although the Caps need to work on staying out of the penalty box, the penalty killing has been PERFECT in this series, allowing zero flyers goals in 13 power play tries. Though the most important man on the penalty killing unit is indeed Braden Holtby, Craig Luecke gives an interesting take that you’ll want to here on why the PK unit has been so solid in our latest NoVa Caps Podcast. The penalty killing unit for the Caps has done a great job of making it difficult for the flyers to enter the offensive zone, as well as limiting the quality looks for Giroux and company.
Power Play: The Capitals scored a whopping 5 power play goals in game three, and are now 8/17 (47%) on the series. While it’s always difficult on opposing defenses/goalies to defend 9 power plays in one game, the Capitals have done an excellent job of capitalizing on these power plays handed to them by the Flyers (and their fans). Marcus Johansson and TJ Oshie have done a fantastic job of double screening Steve Mason on all three of John Carlson’s PPGs. When Alex Ovechkin is left as wide open as he was on the PP in game 2, it’s almost a given that he will make the defense pay for their mistakes.
Be sure to check out the NoVa Caps Podcast for more discussion about the first three games of this series! LETS GO CAPS!
By Gabe Mead