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It wasn’t easy, but they got through it. The Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to two in a much closer series than most thought it would be. There was plenty of relief and deep breaths after the game and series. Now, their reward? Playing division rival and defending Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins. Let’s take a look at the stats for these two teams in the playoffs and the stats for the season series between the Capitals and Penguins.
|Goals For /GM||3.00||4.2|
|5v5 Shooting %||6.6%||11%|
|PP Shoot. %||28.50%||18.50%|
|Scoring Chances For%||51.35%||55.06%|
|Advanced Goalie Stats||Holtby||Fleury|
|High Danger SA/GM||5.33||6.6|
|High Danger SV%||.781||.757|
So what exactly do the above statistics tell us? For starters, both teams are pretty evenly-matched when it comes to defense, as well as offense. With incumbent starter Matt Murray injured prior to the start of their first game against the Columbus Blue jackets in the first round, the Penguins have turned to longtime Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury to help push them through the postseason. While it’s possible Murray returns at some point during this series, Fleury’s play to this point has earned him the starter’s gig for the time being, as he has a record of 4-1, with a goals-against average of 2.52, and save percentage of .933, with two quality starts. Braden Holtby, meanwhile has been just as stellar in the six games played this spring. He has a record of 4-2, with a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.36, save percentage of .925, and three quality starts.
Penguins Individual Stats this postseason
While all the hype has been around the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin matchup, the Penguins’ own Russian superstar, Evgeni Malkin has been noteworthy in his own right, as he leads the team in scoring with 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in five games played, averaging 2.20 points per game. Crosby himself is third on the Pens in scoring with seven points (five goals, two assists) in five games played. Defenseman Justin Schultz leads the team with an average of 21:16 minutes of ice time a night.
Capitals Individual Stats this postseason
If the Capitals are to win the Stanley Cup this spring, they need their top stars to produce in key moments. So far this spring, that is exactly what they’ve gotten. Productive right wing T.J. Oshie leads the team in scoring with seven points (three goals, four assists) in six games played, while renowned playoff hero Justin Williams is second with six points (three goals, three assists). Ovechkin is sixth on the team in scoring with three points and tied for the team lead in goals with three. Defenseman Matt Niskanen has averaged the most minutes a night, averaging an impressive 26:05 per game. Currently-injured blueliner Karl Alzner leads the team in shifts per game (33.5) despite having missed the last four games with an injury.
Penguins Individual Stats vs Capitals this season
While the majority of the Capitals’ game plan centers around stopping the always-dangerous Crosby, Malkin was the player who did the most damage to the Caps during the regular season , recording six points (five goals, one assist) in four games played. Crosby was third with five points (one goal, four assists) in three games played. The Capitals will also need to keep an eye on sniper Phil Kessel and young forward Conor Sheary.
Capitals Individual Stats vs Penguins this season
If fans thought that Malkin’s six points were a lot, the Capitals’ top players make them look miniscule in comparison. Backstrom was almost unstoppable against the Pens, recording 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in four games played, while Oshie was just as dangerous, with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in four games played. Ovechkin did his part in helping down the Penguins, with five points (three goals, two assists) in four games.
Capitals Team Stats vs Penguins this season
In four games, the Capitals split the season series with Pittsburgh, earning eight points in four games ,while outscoring the Pens 23-13. They lost two, one in overtime the other in a shootout, while killing off just 66.6% of the Penguins’ power play opportunities and scoring on 27.0% of their own. The Caps won 57.0% of the faceoffs during the regular season series.
Penguins Team Stats vs Capitals this season
The Penguins, despite some high-scoring games, were simply outplayed by the Capitals during the regular season, being outscored 23-13, while losing two of the four games. The Penguins fared slightly better on their power play opportunities, scoring on 33.3% of them, while killing off 72.2% of the Caps’ man-advantages. They came up short in the faceoff dots as well, winning just 43.0% of the total draws.
By CJ Witt