Monday, May 04, 2009

Sittin' at the end of the bar...

Taking a page out of the numbers sheet of Annoying Fantasy Numbers Guy, we were wondering about the history of Antarctic foul in Games 1 and 2. Just to complete the series…

Number of series played: 44
Overall record in series: 21-23
Record in Games 1: 20-24
Record in Games 2: 28-16

As you can see, the Penguins are no strangers to slow starts in their history, and it has a way of biting them in the flipper…

Series record, winning Game 1: 14-6
Series record, losing Game 1: 7-17

But where it gets important, as you might expect, is in Game 2…

Series record, winning Game 2: 17-11
Series record, losing Game 2: 4-12

The tipping of home ice aside, Caps fans would be forgiven if they were to entertain thoughts of “oh no” in the event of a Penguins win this evening.

Looking at the combinations of Game 1 and Game 2 records…

Series record, winning Game 1 and winning Game 2: 11-2
Series record, winning Game 1 and losing Game 2: 3-4

A 14-6 record when either 2-0 or 1-1 after two games (if the opponent wins Game 1) should assuage that concern a bit, the Caps having won Game 1 and making this set of combinations moot. But what of the combinations when losing Game 2?...

Series record, losing Game 1 and losing Game 2: 1-8
Series record, losing Game 1 and winning Game 2: 6-9

Having lost Game 1, the Penguins are really behind the eight-ball, history-wise, even if they win Game 2 (feeling better?). A 7-17 record in series through two games in which they lost Game 1 isn’t the sort of thing that would make Penguin fans comfortable.

Here’s the thing about the Penguins and Game 2. Until they lost Game 2 in the Stanley Cup finals to the Red Wings last spring, 3-0, they had won nine Games 2 in succession, dating back to a 2-1 overtime win against the Caps in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in 2000.

What does all this mean?

Not much, other than to toss another set of numbers onto the ever-growing pile of them that serves as fodder for bar talk, message boards, and (of course) blogs.

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!! -- Eastern Conference Semifinals, Caps vs. Penguins...Game 2

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!

Our ears are still ringing from the wall of sound that reverberated through Verizon Center on Saturday afternoon' 3-2 Capitals win over Pittsburgh, but now we’re heading into Game 2 of this conference semifinal series against the Penguins, and…

“Did you know that the Capitals are 12-18, all-time, in Games 2 of a playoff series?”

And you are…

“You know that annoying guy who always shows up on sports shows spewing useless numbers to fantasy league players who really need to get out more?”


“You’re lookin’ at him.”

Really?…and I’m guessing you have more useless numbers about the Caps and playoff series.

“Well…now that you mention it…”

If I give you a dollar, will you just go away?

“I can’t help myself…I’m like that guy in ‘A Beautiful Mind’… I just see these things.”

OK, Annoying Fantasy Numbers Guy…what’s the story here?

“The Caps are 12-18, all-time, in Games 2 of a playoff series.”

I’m guessing that’s not as good as their record in Game 1.

“Well, no. The Caps are 19-11 in Games 1 of a playoff series...well, 20-11 after Saturday's win.”

I’ll go out on a limb here and guess you’ve figured out some other stuff…

“As a matter of fact, when the Caps have won a Game 2, which they’ve done 12 times, they’ve won seven of the series and lost five.”

And when they lost Game 2?

“You really want to know?”

Do I?


Why not?

“Because the Caps suck in series when they lose Game 2… 4-14 in those series.”

OK, how about when they win Game 1 and lose Game 2?

“You’re sure you want to hear this stuff?”

I’d already rather get a sharp stick in the eye than continue this conversation…but go ahead.


How about when they sweep the first two games?


That’s not too bad.

“That’s not all…”

OK, what else?

“Two of the three losses were to Pittsburgh.”

So what you’re saying is…

“I have no idea. I just spew numbers, remember?”

Well, here are some more numbers of dubious utility…

Three…that’s how many Caps are in the top-ten in playoff scoring – Alexander Semin (tied for 2nd, with 10), Nicklas Backstrom (tied for 4th with nine), and Alex Ovechkin (tied for 8th with eight).

“Where’s Mike Green?”

He has five points in eight games, which isn’t quite up to his regular season level of production, but then there is Tom Poti, who has six points in eight games.

“And that’s the good news?”

No, it gets better. How’s this – five. That’s how many game winning goals have been scored by players other than Alex Ovechkin in five wins so far. Or how about this…11.

“The number the Caps retired this year – Mike Gartner.”

Close, but no cigar. The number of Caps with at least one goal in the playoffs.

“So what you’re saying is…”

The Caps are getting some of that secondary scoring folks harp on about. They need to keep getting it. Did you know that 14 out of 16 skaters who have been in every playoff game for the Caps have at least one point?

“You trying to take my job?”

I’d sooner eat a bug.

Caps 4 – Penguins 2