The Caps are in uncharted territory with a 3-0 lead in games in their first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers. It makes it difficult to keep the “takeaways” to just five, and it makes it difficult to find as many as five “throwaways.” But let’s take a look at where we are after Game 3.
- John Carlson has power play goals in three straight games in this postseason. The last time that happened was in April 1993, when Al Iafrate turned the trick in Games 4-5-6 against the New York Islanders. The power play goal he had in Game 5 of that series was part of a hat trick in a 6-4 win, the only hat trick by a defenseman in Caps’ postseason history. Those three games did not have the happy endings Carlson’s had. The Caps lost Games 4 and 6 and the series to the Islanders.
- Since Alex Ovechkin came into the league, he is one of only two players to appear in 30 or more postseason games and average more than a half a goal per game. Mike Cammalleri has 17 goals in 32 games (0.53 goals per game), while Ovechkin has 39 goals in 75 games (0.52 per game). In that time, only four players have averaged more points per game than Ovechkin (0.99) – Sidney Crosby (1.19), Evgeni Malkin (1.10), Claude Giroux (1.02…oops), and Cammalleri (1.00).
- Only once in 26 playoff games against the Flyers in Caps franchise history did the Caps score more goals than the six they scored on Monday night – April 14, 1988, when they beat the Flyers, 7-2, in Game 6 of the Patrick Division semi-finals. The five-goal margin of victory in the 6-1 win tied that game for the largest margin of victory for the Caps in the playoff rivalry with the Flyers.
- Marcus Johansson already has five points in the three games of this series so far. He is within one point of his career best in postseason points, set in 2011 when he went 2-4-6 in nine games.
- Jay Beagle is the only player in the post season with two or more goals who has a shooting percentage of 50 percent or better and a faceoff winning percentage of 50 percent or better.
- The Caps were 40 percent or lower in Corsi-for at 5-on-5 for the second straight game. In those two games they are a minus-40 in Corsi and 38.8 percent. But, they were 1-1 in goals scored at fives in Game 3 and are plus-3 for the series.
- Jason Chimera did not have a shot attempt in Game 3. Hey, after his 101-footer for a goal in Game 2, he gets a pass.
- Andre Burakovsky did not have a shot on goal in Game 3. That makes three games without a shot on goal, the only forward for the Caps without one so far.
- It’s nice that the Flyers have been so accommodating, going shorthanded so often, but only four teams have been shorthanded more times than the Caps (13) so far in the postseason: Los Angeles (14), Detroit (14), the Flyers (17), and Tampa Bay (17). Only two teams – Detroit (23) and Tampa Bay (27) have taken more minor penalties than the Caps (21).
- Guess the notice didn’t have room to say “DO NOT USE AS A PROP TO PROTEST THE FLYERS PERFORMANCE”
The Caps can do something on Wednesday night they have never done in a seven-game series. It will not be easy. Nothing in the NHL postseason is. But the Caps have gotten this far with a formula that has served them well so far this season – very good special teams and outstanding goaltending. If their 5-on-5 play (15th-ranked Corsi-for at 5-on-5) catches up, this series could be in for an early end.
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