The Stanley Cup Finals continue on Thursday and we will see the Washington Capitals invade T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada to battle it out with the Vegas Golden Knights in game five of their best-of-seven series. The Capitals have a commanding 3-1 series lead after winning game four by a score of 6-2. Goalie Probables: Getting the nod for the Capitals will be Braden Holtby (15-7, 2.13 GAA) and he will be opposed by Marc-Andre Fleury (13-6, 2.15 GAA).
The Capitals Are One Win Away From The Cup
The Washington Capitals lost game one of this series, but they have now won the last three games and are just one win away from winning their first Stanley Cup Title in the history of the team. The last time they were in the Finals (1997/98), they were swept in four games, but that was then and this is now. The Golden Knights had been very stingy in the crease coming into this series, but after taking game four by a score of 6-2, the Capitals have now scored 16 goals in the four games. The Golden Knights had allowed just 27 total goals in their first 15 playoff games. The Capitals have their offense rolling and will now look to put the finishing touches on this series here in Vegas, but it will not be easy as the Golden Knights have been very tough at home so far. Scoring in the game-four win was T.J. Oshie, which was his 8th of the postseason, Tom Wilson, which was his 5th, Devante Smith-Pelly, which was his 6th, John Carlson, which was his 5th, Michal Kempny, which was his 2nd and Brett Connolly, which was his 6th. The Capitals have gone 30-23 on the road and they have averaged 3.08 gpg and have allowed 3.08 gpg in those games.
Grabbing the win in game four was Braden Holtby, who stopped 28 of the 30 shots that he faced to improve to 15-7 with a 2.13 GAA and a .923 save percentage in the postseason this year and 44-37 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 was 0-1 with a 3.01 GAA and a .893 save percentage against the Golden Knights this year.
The Capitals come into this game ranked 1st in scoring during the postseason at 3.57 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots taken (31.7 spg) and 2nd in power play conversions, converting on 29.6% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, during the postseason, they have been very solid so far as they come in ranked 4th in goals allowed, giving up 2.52 gpg, while also ranking 2nd in shots allowed (28.7 spg) and 9th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 23.3% of their chances.
Could Midnight Strike For Cinderella?
The Vegas Golden Knights are in their first year of existence and it has been a strong first year for them as they won the Pacific Division and have made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Well, midnight will strike for the Cinderella Golden Knights if they lose this game as they are in a deep 3-1 hole. They just haven’t been able to stop a strong Washington offense that is firing on all cylinders right now, but they have to find a way to do that of this will be their last game of the season. They have allowed 16 goals to the Caps after allowing a total of 27 goals through their first 15 games. They have to find a way to slow down that offense, but they must also find their own offense as they have scored just five goals in their last three games after hanging up six goals in game one. Scoring in the game-four loss was James Neal, which was his 6th of the playoffs and Reilly Smith, which was his 4th. The Golden Knights have gone 36-14 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.58 gpg and have allowed 2.42 gpg in those games.
Taking the loss in game four was Marc-Andre Fleury, who allowed six goals on 23 shot attempts to fall to 13-6 with a 2.15 GAA and a .929 save percentage in the postseason this year and 75-57 with a 2.57 GAA and a .912 save percentage in the postseason in his career. During the regular season, he was 29-17 with a 2.24 ERA and a .927 save percentage overall, including 16-10 with a 2.36 GAA and a .922 save percentage here at home. Fleury has gone 22-14 with a 2.54 GAA and a .914 save percentage in his career (regular season) against the Capitals.
Vegas has been below average on offense in the playoffs so far as they come in ranked 10th in scoring at 2.84 gpg, while also ranking 10th in shots taken (31.5 spg) and 10th in power play conversions, converting on 17.5% of their chances. They have been very strong at the defensive end of the ice, during the postseason, as they come in ranked 2nd in goals allowed, giving up 2.26 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots allowed (32.0 spg) and 7th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 20.3% of their chances.
- 3-8 in their last 11 after scoring five goals or more in their previous game
- 1-5 in their last six Thursday games
- 16-2 in their last 18 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- 6-1 in their last seven after allowing five goals or more in their previous game
I have been wrong in every game but game one of this series as I have really underestimated the Capitals. Well, I’m not underestimating them here, but I do feel that the Golden Knights will rise up and stave off elimination here at home where they have been so tough this year. They did lose game two here, but I just can’t see them losing this one with their backs against the Wall. Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled in the last three games, but he is more than capable of turning it around as he did have a 1.68 GAA in the postseason prior to this series. Braden Holtby has been solid in the postseason, but he did have a 3.90 GAA on the road coming into the postseason. I will look for the Golden Knights to rise up and slay the Capitals in this one as they force a game six.