Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images
We’re now four games into the the 2018 playoffs with the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets locked in at two wins each. It is now officially a best-of-three games series. It seems like a good time to look back at all four games, gather the numbers, and take a look at the analytics.
After the Capitals were down 0-2 in the series, I covered the underlying numbers for those games to show why the Capitals could get back into the series. They were pretty dominant in those two games. All they needed to do was cut down on the stupid penalties and get timely goaltending.
Through games 3 and 4, the boys in red did just that. They still took some dumb penalties, but not nearly as many, or at inopportune times. And most importantly, Braden Holtby ended up stopping 56 of 59 shots on his way to two strong victories.
|Scoring Chances For%||55.32% (5th)|
|High Danger Chances For%||65.19% (1st)|
|Expected Goals For%||59.25% (3rd)|
|PDO (luck)||0.966 (12th)|
As you can see, those numbers are extremely promising, and the fact this series is tied, goes to show you just how unlucky the Capitals were in the first two games. It could easily be a sweep or at least a 3-1 series lead for the Capitals right now. If they can turn their luck around and get their PDO to raise higher to around 1.100, where the Capitals usually are, they could be even more deadly.
But at the end of the day these numbers mean nothing if they don’t win. The Capitals have led for 131:41 and have only trailed for 17:33 and it’s added up to 2 wins and 2 losses. Yes, the more you dominate in a game at 5v5 the better chances you have of winning the series. But last year the Capitals dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins in round 2 and still lost in game 7.
If the Capitals continue to play the way they are, the right way, and Holtby stays strong in net then there’s no reason to not see the Capitals winning this series. But first they have to get ready for a strong push from the Blue Jackets in game 5.
By Luke Adomanis