Photo: NHL via Getty Images
Before the series began with the Tampa Bay Lightning I stated that the Lightning were a better team than the Washington Capitals, at least on paper. But the Caps have done a great job of keeping up with the Lightning’s fire power. This is how the numbers break down for the Capitals through six games, according to Natural Stat Trick. The numbers are unadjusted to attain more even numbers.
First, a few of the basic stats after six games of the series:
Scoring Chances: 141-119
High Danger Chances: 48-50
If you told me before the series that at 5v5 the Caps would be leading by 23 shot attempts, 22 scoring chances, and only down by 2 in high danger chances, I would have taken that as a huge win, especially considering Nicklas Backstrom didn’t play the first three games. Even better is the PDO for the Caps is just 100.7, so they aren’t “lucky” by any means. Both teams are basically getting what they deserve.
Flipping a coin is about as accurate of a prediction model for game 7. Yes, Tampa May have the better roster and are playing at home, but home teams have lost more than they have won in these playoffs.
This is the 4th straight year that the NHL Eastern Conference Finals will go the distance.
The Lightning are 5-2 in Game 7s, the best such record in NHL history (min. 5 games). The Capitals are 4-11, the worst record in NHL history (min. 10 games). pic.twitter.com/qp8soxzKBr
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 22, 2018
Ultimately, the team that wins game 7 is the team that has their goalie step up to the challenge. Both netminder s will need to be perfect or close to it to pull out a win. It is highly unlikely we’ll see a Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins game 7 in the 1st round where they combined for 11 goals. Both Andrei Vasilevskiy and Braden Holtby are high calibre puck-stoppers, but they’ll get just one chance at it, just 60 minutes (maybe more) to outlast the other. Who will crack first? Who ever does will most likely be the one hitting the golf course first.
Holtby was great in G6, he’ll have to be good again for the Capitals to make it to the SCF. Vasilevskiy has been dominant since game 2. pic.twitter.com/Y2FJNyPP3x
— Adam Stringham (@Stringhama) May 22, 2018
The only game the Capitals looked bad in was game 5. Yes they lost games 3 and 4 as well, but they played well at 5v5, their penalty kill ultimately doomed them in those games.
No matter what happens to the Capitals in game 7, it’s good see that they aren’t laying down for anybody. They have gone up against a better team and have made it a series. So no matter the outcome, be proud of your team, no one thought they’d even get this far.
By Luke Adomanis