Photo: NHL via Getty Images
For the first time in Washington Capitals history the Caps have won a Stanley Cup Final game at home! They did so with a 3-1 score, though it could have easily been 3-0 if Braden Holtby didn’t make a big mistake. But we’ll forgive him by remembering “The Save” from last game.
[All numbers/visuals provided by Natural Stat Trick and Money Puck. Numbers are adjusted. (Click graphic to enlarge)]
I usually post the numbers here but I think the shot charts and heat map really tell the story.
After the game Matt Niskanen talked about how they kept the Vegas Golden Knights to the outside and he wasn’t lying. Even without these visuals it was hard to remember a moment when Holtby had to do anything extraordinary to stop a goal. The Caps did a great job of making sure Vegas couldn’t get to the danger areas.
The Capitals never really gave Vegas a chance at 5v5, according to Expected Goals. The boys in red started with energy and never let up. They pushed the pace hard in the 2nd period to take the lead. And when they were up 2-0 in the 3rd period, they gave Vegas very little.
And even after they got a freebie from Holtby, the Golden Knights were unable build off of it. Great job by the Caps, not to let them get momentum.
Alexander Ovechkin was doing his thing tonight. He scored a fantastic backhand goal, while falling to the ice, to start the scoring for his team. But I want to point out John Carlson here.
Carlson was 2nd on the team in Expected Goals, but he and his partner Michal Kempny had heavy defensive zone starts with only three offensive zone starts in all of the game. To add on top of that, they led their team in CF% and were 7-3 in High Danger Chances and 12-5 in Scoring Chances. Just a fantastic game by those two.
And who would have thought Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was injured last game and was questionable for tonight, had one goal and one assist at 5v5 and was the 2nd best forward on his team in expected goals. He continues to be a beast on the ice every night. And his team will need him to continue to do it for another 2 wins.
By Luke Adomanis
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