Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
On Wednesday the Penguins defeated the Capitals 3-2 and now lead the series 3-1 with the series going back to D.C. It seems every game has been considered a must win. Well, now it really is.
As deep as this Capitals team is you would think at some point that depth would start showing up. Four games into this series it hasn’t. Perhaps we’ll talk about depth later, but for now lets stick to stats and look at those for Game 4.
The first period was pretty even and the start of the second was pretty much the same. After the goal that made it 2-0 Pittsburgh, Washington ran away in the Corsi category. After the 2-0 goal by Guentzel (Orlov own goal) the Caps out attempted the Penguins 50-16 for the remainder of the game.
The final tally was 72-39 or 57-28 while 5v5.
In the second period, Washington out attempted Pittsburgh 31-11. In the third period the Caps won again 20-6, Pittsburgh played prevent defense most of the third.
It’s hard to point out individuals possession numbers after games like this. After watching the game, I’m not sure there was one player that deserves to be praised for their game because of their great Corsi number.
Like John Carlson. He had 12 attempts for and just 3 against. That means his Corsi% was 80%. I don’t think he had a particularly strong game.
Oshie on the other hand I thought had an OK game. Not that OK is acceptable at this point, but he was noticeable. He had just a 66% Corsi night.
Backstrom, I thought, was noticeable in the offensive zone and he had a percentage below 50% at just 42%.
And of course the depth of this team I thought was non-existent again. Winnik was 40% in possession tonight, Beagle was 25%.
For the Penguins, there was just one player at 50%, that was Scott Wilson, who played just 4:49.
The Capitals were 45% on draws in Game 4. They won 26 of 58 faceoffs.
Backstrom was 11-20, Eller was 4-9, Beagle was 3-6, and Kuznetsov was an awful 3-16 or 19%.
Evgeni Malkin was 13-17 and Matt Cullen was 9-15. Nick Bonino held his team back at the dot in Game 4, winning just 7 of 19 chances.
The Penguins are a beat up team. They were without the best player in the world and one of the best defenseman. They are playing with a couple of guys who are clearly banged up. Lastly they have a goalie who is lucky to still be in the Steel City.
Two strengths this Caps’ team had coming into the playoffs, depth and goaltending, have failed them for most of these playoffs and definitely cost them this series so far.
Marc-Andre Fleury has outperformed Braden Holtby so far this series coming up with multiple big saves a game, while Holtby has not. Fleury’s save percentage this series is .937, Holtby’s is .867.
The depth for the Capitals have done next to nothing. Burakovsky has zero goals this postseason and just 3 goals in 33 career playoff games. The fourth line hasn’t done anything and now has a defenseman on it. The strengths so far have turned into weaknesses.
Down 3-2 late second and early third with a four-minute power play, this is what I wanted to see. Shots and players getting to the blue paint and pounding in a desperate goal. We didn’t get that and then Ovechkin took a penalty to kill off the final minute of that double minor.
They may not have been desperate enough in Game four, but they better be now. There is no more room for error.
By CJ Witt