Washington Capitals (57-28-8-1) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (62-25-3-2)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, May 11, 2018
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Caps Make It Past The Second Round
The Washington Capitals (8-4) made it to Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 20 years after beating the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, with a 2-1 overtime decision at PPG Paints Arena on Monday, banking a 4-2 series win. It was just the second time the Caps had managed to beat the Pens in 11 postseason series and the first since 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Evgeny Kuznetsov (7 goals, 7 assists during the current playoffs), who scored the winning snipe on Monday, and Alex Ovechkin (8 goals, 7 assists), who provided the primary helper, lead Washington with 14 and 15 points this postseason respectively.
Goalie Braden Holtby is entering the Conference Finals with an 8-3 total for the ongoing playoffs on top of a 2.04 GAA and a .926 save percentage. He is 37-33 in all previous postseason outings combined with a 2.00 GAA and a .931 save percentage and has posted a 9-3-2 career record against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 2.75 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The Capitals, meanwhile, are scoring the absolute highest number of goals per game during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (3.58), while conceding the 6th lowest amount on the defensive end (2.67). They are 2nd best in power play with a 31.0% success rate and 8th in penalty kill with 79.1% proficiency.
Another Conference Final For Bolts
Four consecutive victories and a 4-1 series win in the Eastern Conference Second Round matchup against the Boston Bruins (their second straight 4-1 series triumph following the beatdown of the New Jersey Devils in the Conference Quarterfinals) have delivered the Tampa Bay Lightning (8-2) to the Eastern Conference Finals – their third ones in the past four years. The Bolts overcame the New York Rangers in seven games in 2015 before dropping the Stanley Cup Finals to the Chicago Blackhawks, and lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 two years ago before failing to qualify for the postseason last year altogether. Nikita Kucherov is entering the upcoming pairing, leading Tampa Bay with 12 playoff points during the current campaign (6 goals, 6 assists).
After the first two rounds of this year’s postseason, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has gone 8-2 with a 2.20 GAA and a .927 save percentage. He is 12-7 in all previous playoff appearances put together with a 2.51 GAA and a .923 save percentage and has recorded a 2-4-0 career tally against the Washington Capitals with a 3.31 GAA and a .903 save percentage. The Lightning, meanwhile, are scoring the 2nd highest number of goals per game this postseason (3.50), while allowing the 4th lowest quantity defensively (2.50). They are 4th in power play with a 26.3% conversion rate and 11th in penalty kill with 74.2% expertise.
- Visiting team is 7-20 in the last 27 meetings between Capitals and Lightning.
- Lightning are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. Metropolitan.
- Lightning are 4-1 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Lightning are 38-14 in their last 52 home games.
The Capitals have been excellent on the road lately, winning 10 of their past 11 travels and nine of their last 10 away outings against teams with a solid home record. Still, their previous 27 meetings against the Lightning have seen the home team triumph on 20 occasions, so do expect the Bolts to start the Eastern Conference Finals with a domestic victory, with them already having won four of their last five home fixtures against sides with a winning road record…