Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!! -- Game 74: Lightning at Capitals, March 20th

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!

Four days ago, the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning met in Tampa.  On Wednesday night, they meet again, this time in Washington.  Not much has changed in the intervening days, so go read this again for a refresher

But there are some fun facts and nifty nuggets of information you might like or use to impress your friends. This will be the 64th meeting of the teams in Washington in the history of the series.  Tampa Bay has won only 12 times in regulation.  The 12th time was the last time the teams met in D.C., a 4-2 win for the Bolts last February 20th. Odd thing about that game; the Lightning had only 19 shots on goal.  It was the second time in a span of four games in Washington that Tampa Bay generated only 19 shots.  Including that game, the Caps are 22-3-2 in their last 27 regular season games against Tampa Bay in Washington, dating back to March 2007.

Over those 27 games, the Caps…
  • Outscored Tampa Bay, 108-68
  • Outshot the Lightning, 853-789
  • Converted 25 of 97 power play chances (25.8 percent)
  • Killed 69 of 85 shorthanded situtations (81.2 percent)
  • Won 864 of 1,586 faceoffs (54.5 percent)
  • Out-hit the Lightning, 644-529
  • Went 4-2 against Tampa Bay in extra time (2-1 in overtime, 2-1 in the Gimmick)
  • Shut out the Lightning twice
  • Were shut out by the Lightning twice, both times in extra time (January 4, 2011 in overtime and April 13, 2014 in a Gimmick)
  • Scored five or more goals 11 times, winning all of them
  • Allowed five or more six times (not including the freestyle competition), losing only three times
  • Won by three or more goals six times, lost by three or more goals once (5-2, November 10, 2007)
  • Took ten or more minutes in penalties 16 times, going 12-2-2 in those games
  • Drew ten or more minutes in penalties 15 times, going 12-1-2 in those games

And individually in those games…
  • Alex Ovechkin is the only Capital to have appeared in all 27 games against the Lightning in Washington; only Nicklas Backstrom (24) and Mike Green (20) appeared in 20 or more of them
  • Ovechkin leads with 25 goals; next on the list is Alexander Semin (nine);   Backstrom is next among current Capitals (seven)
  • Backstrom leads in assists with 24; Ovechkin is next with 21
  • Ovechkin (46) and Backstrom (31) are the only Caps with 30 or more points in those games
  • Ovechkin leads in power play goals (eight) and points (18)
  • No Capital had a shorthanded goal over those 27 games
  • Green and Ovechkin are the only Capitals with overtime goals
  • Unsurprisingly, Ovechkin leads in shots on goal (141), more than twice as many as the next Capital (Backstrom: 59)
  • Dennis Wideman led the team in average ice time (24:21 in three games)
  • Boyd Gordon led the team in faceoff winning percentage (63.9/39 for 69)
  • Ovechkin led the team in hits (64), twice as many as John Erskine (32)
  • John Carlson led in blocked shots (49)
  • Backstrom led in takeaways (20)
  • Green took the most penalties (10) and penalty minutes (30)
  • Matt Bradley took the most major penalties (three)

It is a tale of dominance not seen often in the NHL.  However, this will be the back half of a back-to-back set of games, too, against the league’s best team.  It is the last such instance this season for the Caps.  Some tidbits from the first 12 instances…
  • The Caps swept three BtB’s, the three coming in successive instances in November and December (against Detroit and the New York Rangers, Carolina and Buffalo, and Buffalo and Ottawa)
  • While the Caps were 7-4-1 in the opening game of a BtB (pending Tuesday’s game in New Jersey), they were 5-5-2 in the back half of BtB’s.
  • This will be only the third time this season that the Caps play the back half of a BtB at home; the beat Buffalo in a Gimmick, 4-3, on December 15th, and they beat the Rangers, 6-5, in overtime, on February 24th

And there you have it.  The game on Saturday was a nail biter right up until Jakub Vrana hit a post, and the Lightning scored the first of two empty net goals shortly thereafter.  This game should be as close with additional hot sauce added being whether the Lightning can back up their physical approach displayed in Tampa on the opponent’s ice sheet.  We don’t think so.

Capitals 4 – Lightning 3

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