Capitals vs Lightning Game 2: Can the Great 8 Put the Caps up 2-0?

The Capitals Alexander Ovechkin
Ovie and the Caps have taken home-ice advantage and jumped out to an early 1-0 series lead. (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • Alexander Ovechkin lead the Capitals to a Game 1 victory in the Eastern Conference Finals
  • Can the league’s highest scoring team get their offense going in Game 2?
  • Puck drop for Game 2 is 8pm EST on Sunday, May 13th

Heading into the Eastern Conference Finals, the Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to have all the stats on their side to justify being approximately -175 series favourites.

The Lightning finished the regular season as the top team in the East, third overall, and rolled into the Conference Finals on the back of an 8-2 record in the playoffs.

Add in this is the third Conference Finals in four years for Tampa, compared to the first such trip for the Capitals since 1998, and Tampa looked to be in a good place opening up the series at Amalie Arena.

The Washington Capitals are in the Conference Finals for the first time since 1998.

Fresh off finally getting the gigantic monkey, or in this case penguin, off their back by eliminating Pittsburgh in the Conference Semifinals, Washington had other plans.

The Caps carried that momentum into this series and roared out to a 2-0 lead after the first period, and 4-0 lead after two periods in Game 1. Tampa would then send starting netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy to the bench to start the third, going with backup Louis Domingue the rest of the way.

They were able to pull back two goals to make the score look respectable in what was otherwise an easy 4-2 win for the Caps.

Capitals Offense Shows up Big

Alexander Ovechkin, who lead the Capitals with 15 points in the playoffs, continued on his torrid scoring pace adding a goal and an assist with three shots.

The Caps actually had four goals on 25 shots after the second period, compared to Tampa Bay only registering 10 shots. For the game, Washington outshot Tampa by a 32-20 margin.

Washington’s second ranked power play in the playoffs was also on point, going 2/3.

Being outshot isn’t something Tampa is accustomed to, having the 12thmost shots in the league during the regular season, and being the league’s top scoring team with 296 goals.

By contrast, Washington is typically a squad that relies on making the most of their chances, as they registered the least amount of shots on goal all season.

Head-To-Head Results

Date Location Score Winner
 May 11, 2018 – ECF Game 1 TB 4-2 WSH
 Feb. 20, 2018 WSH 4-2 TB
Nov. 24, 2017 WSH 3-1 WSH
Oct. 9, 2017 TB  4-3(OT) TB
 Mar. 18, 2017  TB 5-3 WSH

Team Stats

Capitals
VS
Lightning

3.1 Goals/Game 3.5
 2.9 Goals against/Game 2.9
29.0 Shots/Game 32.7
 22.5% PP%  23.9%
 80.3% PK% 76%

*Regular season and playoffs

Capitals vs Lightning Game 2 Betting Advice

Pick: Tampa Bay on the Moneyline
Despite their lack of Conference Finals experience, Washington Coach Barry Trotz does have the fifth-most coached games in NHL history and he had his team ready to go for Game 1.

The Caps’ high work rate was evidenced in their blocked shots, holding a 19-10 edge in the category – a stat they dominated all playoffs ranking first with 232. Their insistence on getting in front of pucks led to an injury we need to keep an eye on: Niklas Backstrom missed Game 1 with an injured hand, and his return for Game 2 is still questionable.

Tampa Bay is 8-0 in the playoffs when scoring at least three goals.

The Lightning and Vasilevskiy may have turned in a dud in Game 1, but we’ve seen this before. Opening up the Semifinals at home last round to Boston, the Lightning were brushed aside 6-2. From there, all they did was rebound to win the next four straight, while only allowing seven goals in those games, and no even-strength goals in the last three.

With all the firepower on the Lightning roster, they should come out strong in Game 2. The sweet spot for them should be to score at least three goals. Throughout the playoffs Tampa is 8-0 when scoring at least three goals.

Opening Odds

CAPITALS LIGHTNING
ML +175 ML -195
 PL +1.5 (-170) PL -1.5 (+150)
 O/U 6 (-105) O/U 6 (-105)

Betting Trends

Capitals
VS
Lightning

58-28-8-1 SU  62-26-3-2
 47-48 Puck Line 45-48
52-40 O/U  54-35

Injury Report

CAPITALS LIGHTNING
(C) Niklas Backstrom – Hand – QUESTIONABLE (LW) Adam Erne – Lower Body – QUESTIONABLE