The Eastern Conference Finals continue this evening and the Metro Division will square off with the Atlantic Division as the Tampa Bay Lightning battle it out with the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. in game six of their best-of-seven series. Tampa Bay won game five by a score of 3-2 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Goalie Probables: The Lightning will be sending out Andrei Vasilevskiy (11-4, 2.59 GAA) and he will be opposed by Braden Holtby (10-6, 2.29 GAA).
Bolts Strike Quickly And Hold On For Win
The Tampa Bay Lightning were down 2-0 in this series, but they have fought back to take the last three games and are now holding a 3-2 lead over the Caps and are now just one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2014/15. Should they get there, then they will be looking for their first title since 2003/04. In the game four win, the Lightning got off to a fast start as they scored just 19 seconds into the game and then added one at the 9:04 mark of the first to take a 2-0 lead. They then scored just 33 seconds into the 2nd period to take a 3-0 lead and held on for the win from there. Scoring in the win was Cedric Paquette which was his 1st of the playoffs, Ondrej Palat, which was his 6th of the playoffs and Ryan Callahan, which was his 2nd. The Bolts allowed 10 goals in the first two games of this series, but have allowed just six goals in the three games since. The Lightning has gone 30-17 on the road overall and they have averaged 3.53 gpg and have allowed 2.72 gpg in those games.
Grabbing the win in game four was Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 28 of the 30 shots that he faced to improve to 11-4 with a 2.59 GAA and a .919 save percentage in the playoffs this year and 15-9 with a 2.69 GAA and a .919 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 18-11 with a 2.34 GAA and a .931 save percentage out on the road. 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 4th in the league in scoring at 3.33 gpg, while also ranking 11th in shots taken (29.5 spg) and 2nd in power play conversions, converting on 30.1% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice, they have been above average during the postseason as they come in ranked 5th in goals allowed giving up 2.73 gpg, while also ranking 7th in shots allowed (31.9 spg) and 9th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 24.5% of their chances.
Caps Just Can’t Get Their Offense Going
The Washington Capitals lost their first to games of the postseason but went on to win 10 of their next 12 games and they averaged 3.83 gpg over that 12-game stretch, but they have now lost three in a row to the Lightning and have scored just two goals in each loss. The Bolts have really shut down this offense. The power play has struggled for the Caps as they have gone 0/7 on it in their last three games after going 3/7 in their first two games. The Capitals really lived off their power play for much of the playoffs and if they don’t get it back then this series is over. In game four, they didn’t even have a power play chance as the Bolts were not called for one penalty, while just one was called on Washington. Tampa Bay did not score on their lone PP chance. Scoring the game four loss was Evgeny Kuznetsov, which was his 11th of the playoffs and Alex Ovechkin, which was his 11th as well. The Capitals have gone 31-18 here at home for the year overall and they have averaged 3.33 gpg and have allowed 2.65 gpg in those games.
Absorbing the loss in game four was Braden Holtby, who allowed three goals on 22 shot attempts to fall to 10-6 with a 2.29 GAA and a .914 save percentage in the postseason this year and 39-36 with a 2.06 GAA and a .928 save percentage in the playoffs in his career. During the regular season, he was 34-20 with a 2.99 GAA and a .907 save percentage overall, including 22-9 with a 2.41 GAA and a .921 save percentage here at home. 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 3.47 gpg, while also ranking 4th in shots taken (33.5 spg) and 3rd in power play conversions, converting on 28.6% 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 6th in goals allowed, giving up 2.76 gpg, while also ranking 2nd in shots allowed (28.4 spg) and 11th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 25.9% of their chances..
Tampa Bay is:
- 18-37 their last 55 games here in Washington
- 71-26 in their last 97 vs. the Atlantic
- 87-39 in their last 126 after scoring two goals or less in their previous game
The Tampa Bay Lightning are one step away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, but I don’t see them getting there after this game. The Caps lost both home games in this series, but this is still a very solid home team and I feel that they will rise up to force a game seven. The Caps just need to get their power play going and I feel they will be able to do just that as they have converted on 25.3% of their chances here at home for the year. Tampa Bay has been a solid road team all year, but with their backs against the wall and facing elimination, I see the capitals coming out on top in this one and the clincher is the fact that the Capitals are 25-8 in their last 33 Monday games