It’s game seven of the Eastern Conference finals and we will see the Washington Capitals pay a visit to Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida to battle it out with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the right to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Caps evened the series at 3-3 with a 3-0 win on Monday night. Goalie Probables: Getting the nod for the Capitals will be Braden Holtby (11-6, 2.16 GAA) and the Lightning will counter with Andrei Vasilevskiy (11-5, 2.55 GAA).
Caps Blank The Bolts To Force Game Seven
The road team won the first four games of this series, but then the lightning won at home and the Caps followed it up with a home win of their own on Monday night. They won that game by a score of 3-0 for their first shutout of the postseason and that win now has them in a winner take all game seven. The Caps had gone 0-7 their last three games on the power play, but they converted on their lone power play chance in this game. The power play in the key to the Washington attack and they will look to get it going in this one or they will come up a bit short in their quest to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Leading their attack in game six was T.J. Oshie, who scored twice and now has seven goals in the postseason, which is a career high for him. Also, scoring was Devante Smith-Pelly, which was his 4th of the playoffs. The Capitals have gone 28-22 on the road and they have averaged 3.04 gpg and have allowed 3.10 gpg in those games.
Snatching up the game six win was Braden Holtby, who stopped all 24 shots that he faced in the game for his first shutout of the postseason this year and the 5th playoff shutout of his career. He is now 11-6 with a 2.16 GAA and a .919 save percentage in the postseason this year and 40-36 with a 2.03 GAA and a .929 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 34-20 with a 2.99 GAA and a .907 save percentage overall, including 12-11 with a 3.90 GAA and a .889 save percentage on the road. Holtby has gone 9-5 with a 2.75 GAA and a .910 save percentage against the Lightning in his career (Regular season).
The Capitals come into this game ranked 2nd in scoring during the postseason at 3.44 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots taken (33.5 spg) and 2nd in power play conversions, converting on 29.8% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, during the postseason, they have been above average so far as they come in ranked 5th in goals allowed, giving up 2.61 gpg, while also ranking 2nd in shots allowed (28.1 spg) and 10th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 25.0% of their chances.
Offense Didn’t Make Trip To The Nation’s Capital
The Tampa Bay Lightning were the best offensive team in the league during the regular season and they have been solid on offense throughout the playoffs so far, but that offense did not show up in their trip to the Nation’s Capital on Monday night as they lost by a score of 3-0. It was just the 2nd time all year that the Lightning has been blanked. The other time was on March 17 when they lost at home to Boston by a score of 3-0. This is not a team that you shut out all that often and the Lightning will look to get that offense back on track here at home where they have averaged 3.22 gpg during the postseason. Leading their attack in the postseason so far has been Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos, who all have seven goals while leading them in points in Kucherov with 17. Tampa Bay has gone 35-15 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.48 gpg and have allowed 2.94 gpg in those games.
Absorbing the loss in game six was game four win was Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed two goals on 33 shot attempts to fall to 11-5 with a 2.55 GAA and a .920 save percentage in the postseason this year and 15-10 with a 2.66 GAA and a .920 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 44-20 with a 2.62 GAA and a .920 save percentage overall, including 26-9 with a 2.84 GAA and a .909 save percentage here at home. Vasilevskiy has gone 2-4 with a 3.31 GAA and a .903 save percentage against the Capitals in his career (regular season).
During the postseason, Tampa Bay ranks 5th in the league in scoring at 3.13 gpg, while also ranking 11th in shots taken (29.2 spg) and 3rd in power play conversions, converting on 29.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been above average during the postseason as they come in ranked 6th in goals allowed giving up 2.75 gpg, while also ranking 7th in shots allowed (32.1 spg) and 11th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 26.1% of their chances.
- None Available
Tampa Bay is:
- 43-16 in their last 59 games playing on one days rest
- 37-16 in their last 53 vs. a team with a winning record
The road team took the first four games of this series, but the home team has bounced back to take the last two and I feel the home team will win this one as well. The Lightning was shutout in their last game and that is not something that has happened all that often this year and I look for their offense to get back on track in this one. They have averaged 3.48 gpg at home and the Capitals have allowed 3.10 gpg on the road this year, so the Bolts should be able to get their offense going once again in this one. The Capitals did take two games here in Tampa to start the series, but I just don’t feel that they will have what it take to grab a win in this one. Take the Lightning to move on and face the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals.