Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals evened the series with a big 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday afternoon. They played a very solid game and went up 3-0 before the Penguins predictably put on the pressure to try to tie the game but couldn’t make a comeback. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ Luke Adomanis breaks down the numbers.
Let’s take a look at the Expected Goals with the data provided by MoneyPuck.
The numbers pretty much back up the eye test. It was a pretty even game until the Caps took the three-goal lead and the Penguins pressed hard to tie it up. It looks a bit better when you adjust for flurry, score, and venue.
And though they ended up winning, it would be wise for the Caps to keep pouring on the chances when leading. No doubt a losing team, especially a great one like the Penguins, will have the majority of better chances, but that stretch from the mid-second period to the mid-third period could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for goaltender Braden Holtby. It’s great that he was a wall in net, but it’s not something the Caps want to rely on.
Taking their foot off the gas at home against the Penguins without star Evgeni Malkin might work occasionally, but playing in Pittsburgh with Malkin in the lineup, won’t fly. With the next two games in enemy territory, the boys in red better push play whether they are leading or trailing, or they could put themselves in a poor position and find themselves in trouble.
By Luke Adomanis