Sunday, April 17, 2016

Capitals vs. Flyers: Takeaways and Throwaways from Game 2

With two games of their first-round playoff series in the books, the Washington Capitals have a 2-0 lead on the Philadelphia Flyers.    What are the takeaways and throwaways from Game 2?

  • How many goalies over the last 30 years with at least 20 games played have a playoff career goals against average of below 2.00 and a save percentage over .930?  One…Braden Holtby (1.84, .938).
  • Nicklas Backstrom had his fifth career three-point playoff game, tying him with Alex Ovechkin for the most on the club since Backstrom came into the league in 2007-2008.  Every time that Backstrom recorded three or more points, the Caps won. 
  • Jason Chimera scored his 12th career playoff goal as a Washington Capital.  The oddity of scoring from 100 feet out aside, it was the game-winning goal, making half of his career playoff goals (6) of the game-winning variety.  His sixth game-winning goal as a Capital ties him with Peter Bondra for the all-time franchise lead.   Bondra scored his six game-winners in 73 career playoff games with the Caps; Chimera did it in 53 games.
  • John Carlson is doing it at both ends of the ice, in a manner of speaking.  He is tied for the league lead in points among defensemen in the playoffs so far, his goal and two assists tied with San Jose’s Brent Burns and Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov (yeah, it’s early).  He has the only game-winning goal by a defenseman in the playoffs thus far and leads all defensemen in power play goals (2).  At the other end, he leads all defensemen in blocked shots with ten.
  • The Caps’ power play (37.5 percent) and penalty kill (100.0 percent) add up to a special teams index of 137.5, best in the league at the moment (Anaheim: 125.0).

  • This is the eighth time that the Capitals have taken a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.  In their previous seven instances, they won just two series, both times by a 4-1 margin.  Three times in five series losses they went to seven games.  Yeah…file that under “history, ancient.”
  • From the “odd coincidence” file…Game 2 was the fourth straight postseason game in which Tom Wilson recorded at least two penalty minutes, and the Caps won.  We would just as soon the Caps not keep testing this proposition.
  • The 61 shot attempts the Caps allowed to the Flyers at 5-on-5 in Game 2 was not the most they allowed in any game this season, but they can see it from here.  Three times in the regular season the Caps allowed more shot attempts at fives: 62 on December 12th against Tampa Bay (a 2-1 win), 64 on December 14th against Pittsburgh (a 4-1 win), and 64 against Carolina on December 21st (a 2-1 win).  Odd thing, that.
  • Only two of 18 skaters having dressed for the Caps so far are “minus” players – Justin Williams and Evgeny Kuznetsov (both minus-1).  How long do you think that is going to last?
  • It does speak to the need for the Caps’ second line to be heard from.  Through two games, the second line of Andre Burakovsky, Kuznetsov, and Williams is without a point.  Kuznetsov is shooting in some bad luck.  He leads the team in total shots on goal (11).  Burakovsky is not.  He has yet to record a shot on goal.
Now the teams head to Philadelphia.  Caps fans will be hoping that the team returns with a series win in their luggage.

Photo: Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images