Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
The Washington Capitals scored 3 unanswered goals in the 3rd period of Game 5 to stay alive in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now down 3-2 in the series, Game 6 in Pittsburgh is still a must-win for the Capitals.
While the Capitals were victorious in Game 5, the Capitals struggled in various aspects on the ice. With the series now shifting back to Pittsburgh, the Capitals will need to find a way to play their best road game of the season.
How do the Capitals need to improve their game from Game 5? What do they need to do to steal a victory in Game 6?
Poor faceoff efficiency is something the Capitals need to clean up in their game. In Game 5 against Pittsburgh, the Capitals were just 39% effective in the faceoff dot. Lars Eller performed the best out of any of the Capitals centers in Game 5, as he was 50% effective in the faceoff dot.
Winning faceoffs are crucial, especially if a team has a man advantage or needs a key defensive zone win. The Capitals are just 46.4% effective in the faceoff dot in the 2017 NHL Playoffs. Out of the teams remaining in the playoffs, only Edmonton and St. Louis are worse than the Capitals in the faceoff dot.
The Capitals powerplay was ineffective in Game 5, as it was 0/3 in the game. The powerplay was also 0/4 in Game 4. If the Capitals are going to steal a win in Game 6, the powerplay will need to strike.
There have been too many times where the Capitals are not keeping pucks in the offensive zone on the powerplay and they are waiting for perfect lanes to open. The Capitals will need quicker puck movement and more shots on net in Game 6. A quick moving powerplay will create more fatigue on Penguin penalty killers and Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Capitals star players all responded in Game 5 with goals. It is now time for other players to produce in key moments. The Capitals third and fourth lines have not given the Capitals much production in this series.
It will help the Capitals tremendously if they can get a goal from players who do not score as often. The Capitals could use more offensive production from players like Jay Beagle, Daniel Winnik, and Tom Wilson.
The Capitals did a good job of staying disciplined in Game 5. They only committed 2 minor penalties in that game. They must continue to stay disciplined against the Penguins in Game 6.
The Penguins have plenty of firepower with the man advantage and they have shown the ability to move the puck well against the Capitals penalty killers. If the Capitals commit more than 5 minor penalties in Game 6, they will be in for a long night.
REMEMBER LAST YEAR’S GAME 6
The Capitals have advanced to the point where their season ended last year. They have the prime chance at redemption. They have a chance to change a consistent outcome. The Capitals can choose to let their past haunt them and hinder their chance to win or they can use their previous failures as motivation. Every year is different and every team is different. If the Capitals want to be Champions, they must use their previous playoff failures as motivation to win. They need to remember last year’s failure and they must be motivated to change the previous outcomes.
By: George Foussekis