AP Photo/Nick Wass
There is no time to celebrate in the NHL. After an exciting first two games, including a wild home opener, the Capitals are in Tampa Bay. The 2-0 Capitals will play the 1-1 Lightning, who split a home and home opening series with the Florida Panthers. The Bolts won their home game against the Panthers.
The Capitals are obviously hoping to continue their hot form and goal scoring pace. Washington has scored 10 goals in their first two games, with Alex Ovechkin scoring 7 of them.
If history is any indication, Ovechkin will score more goals on Monday night.
There isn’t much to look at in terms of Capitals career numbers vs the Lightning, but the top three on that chart are really impressive. Ovechkin leads the way again with 41 goals in 63 games. Yet the thing that jumped out at me was Nicklas Backstrom’s 42 assists in 44 games against Tampa. Forget averaging a point per game, Backstrom is averaging nearly an assist per game vs the Lightning. He’s added 10 goals for 52 points in 44 games.
T.J. Oshie also has a nice line vs the Bolts. In just 14 games played against Tampa, he has 10 goals. Braden Holtby has a nice win/loss record vs Tampa Bay, but somewhat average stats overall.
Going back to Backstrom for a second. in the three games vs. the Lightning last season he chipped in with 6 assists. Oshie missed one of the three games last season against TB, but still managed 3 goals. Carlson managed to score 3 goals from the back end and Ovechkin also scored one.
Braden Holtby played in all three games vs the Lightning last season, going 2-0-1 with a 1.31 GAA and a .953 save%. He also recorded a shutout vs TB last season.
As a team last season vs Tampa Bay, the Capitals were pretty good in Corsi, finishing the season at 51.69. Looking at the players above, there’s not to much to mention. Carlson and Ovechkin are the ones you probably want to come up though.
And as always, before we wrap this up and get ready for the game, we need to look at the Lightning stats vs the Capitals.
The top three on the right side of the chart are the ones to watch. Steven Stamkos’ career numbers vs the Caps could be better, but 15 goals is nothing to sneeze at. Hedman doesn’t have great numbers vs the Capitals, but he has become one of the best defensemen in the entire NHL over the past couple of season and demands attention.
Two of the younger, yet still experienced Bolts, Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson, are both nearly a point per game player. Kucherov scores a goal about every other game and last season potted 3 goals in 3 games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy played in two games vs the Capitals last season. He was 0-2-0, had a bad 4.51 GAA and .862 save%.
In the special teams department, the Capitals were up and down vs Tampa Bay last season. The power play was pretty good, clicking at 20%, scoring 2 goals in 10 attempts. The penalty kill on the other hand gave up two goals on just seven attempts. These two teams have plenty of offense and deadly power players, so special teams should be a factor in this season series.
It’s game number three of eighty-two. Another tough test, we’ll see how the Caps do down in Tampa.