Photo: NHL via Getty Images
The Stanley Cup Final is a spectacle. It is something that happens every year that never gets old. At the end of it all, the greatest trophy in all of sports is handed out to the team that is able to clinch 16 wins. The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights have delivered some great hockey for fans that have watched the first 3 games. The series is likely going to go the distance, and there is plenty of hockey left to be played.
After three games, the Capitals have a 2-1 lead in the series. The Capitals have done a tremendous job in the playoffs playing as a unit and playing for each other. There is something special with this Capitals club, as this seems to be a team that is tight-knit and very close.
The Capitals need to win two more games in the series to clinch the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. Let’s dive in to what the Capitals need to do down the stretch as this series becomes tighter and more competitive:
The Capitals have done a very good job clogging the shooting lanes of the Golden Knights. The Capitals have done a good job pushing their skilled forwards to the outside, and they have done a masterful job at clogging the middle of the ice.
If the Capitals want this series to close quickly, the stingy defense needs to continue. They must continue to grind the Golden Knights down by keeping up the physical play, and closing their shot attempts.
Through the first three games, the Capitals powerplay has not been very effective. The Capitals are 1/7 through the first three games, including 0/4 in Game 3.
The powerplay needs to improve if the Capitals want to break this series open. Special teams can dictate a series outcome, and the Capitals must get their lethal powerplay open if they want to create some separation against the Golden Knights.
Goaltending can make or break teams in the quest for the Stanley Cup. This series features two elite goaltenders that gives their respective clubs a chance to win every game.
Braden Holtby has been outstanding, and has faced more shots in the series so far. Holtby has recorded 14 wins, a 2.13 goals against average, and .922 save percentage in the postseason. Holtby has to continue to deliver to give the Capitals a chance to finally hoist the Stanley Cup.
There is no doubt that every Capitals player is hurting right now. Hockey is a physically demanding sport, and every player usually plays with various ailments this time of year.
The Capitals need to do their best to maintain their bodies now. The Capitals need to rest up appropriately and seek any medical treatments they need to survive the remainder of this series.
By: George Foussekis