Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images
Raise your hand if you had the Washington Capitals going up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the best team in the East? Come collect your prize. If the Capitals only won one game in Tampa it would have been considered a success, but to take two games, quite dominantly I might add, is pretty unreal.
So how dominant were the Capitals in game 2? Let’s take a look.
The Capitals looked like they owned every period across the board when it came to Corsi, Scoring Chances, and High Danger Chances, except the 2nd period they barely got beat out in Scoring Chances. Taking 8 of those 9 categories is still very impressive.
The boys in red never really gave up possession in the game. The Lightening had a peak of it for about 30 seconds to start the 1st period, but after that they couldn’t find any flow. What’s really fun to see is leading up to each goal the Capitals owned in possession.
This kind of says it all. Again, like game 1, the Capitals owned the slot offensively and the Lightning couldn’t get any consistency when it came to dangerous shots for themselves. And when they did Holtby was brilliant.
The Capitals scored five 5v5 goals when they were only expected to score 2.53, while Tampa was expected 1.31 goals at 5v5 and had 0. So the Capitals got a bit lucky there, but maybe that was because the Lightning screwed with karma when they scored on 2 power plays they shouldn’t have had.
If you called Brett Connolly and Ryan Callahan as leading their teams in expected goals for game 2 then you’re probably the same person who knew the Caps would be up 2-0 in the series. In that case, I want to give you money for some lottery tickets.
What’s great about this chart is the top 4 players for the Capitals are each on a different line: 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 4th in order. It adds up when you consider each line scored at least one 5v5 goal. Again, scoring depth is coming up huge for the Capitals. If you take a look at the Lightning you will not see the names of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, or Brayden Point, which just shows how great the Caps did defensively.
That’s 2 straight dominating games against the Lightning, but the Caps have done this before. They were up 2-0 against the Lightning, way back in 2003, and Lightning came back and won 4 straight. No matter how the Caps have played these first 2 games there are still a lot of hockey to play. The Lightning have a ton of skill, the second you take them lightly they’ll strike back. The game plan needs to continue to play hard every shift and maybe the boys in red can win this series.
By Luke Adomanis