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Round Robin Game #1 - Caps vs Lightning

August 3, 2020, 12:28 PM ET [0 Comments]
Brian Sickles
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

Today at 4:00pm EST, the Washington Capitals kick off their round robin round against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Capitals won all three regular season match-ups against the Lightning and all three games were played in early part of the season prior to Dec 22nd. During that early season window (October 2nd – December 21st), the Lightning were 17-13-4, a record that was ranked 22nd in the league. In the same window, The Capitals were ranked #1 in the league at 26-6-5. Since December 22nd, the Lightning had the best record in the league at 26-8-2 and the Capitals ranked 22nd with a record 15-14-3. The Capitals earned those early season wins for sure, but I also feel they benefited from catching the Lightning while they were still sorting through their early season struggles. Here are three general things to note for the game tonight:

1. John Carlson: Carlson might sit out as he is dealing with an undisclosed injury he sustained in the game against Carolina. That is a huge hole in the defense if he misses a prolonged period of time but that does not seem to be the case. A positive of the round robin is the Caps can rest him cause these games mean nothing. Stamkos may also miss the game tonight for Tampa Bay.

2. Goaltending and Defense: Tampa Bay scored the most goals in the league at 243 Goals and 3.47 GF/G. This on paper should be the best test for Holtby and the defense who both had huge question marks as the season came to a pause. Both Holtby and the defense looked really solid in the Exhibition game against Carolina, especially 5 on 5. The Lightning were tied for first in the league with 162 5on5 goals on the season and since December 22nd, 2019 they were first in the league with 89 5on5 goals…nine more ahead of the next team. After seeing how well the Caps played 5on5 last game, I am curious to see how they look against the best 5on5 team in the league.

3. Special Teams – Tampa Bay has the 5th ranked Power Play at 23.1% and the Capitals have the 6th best PK at 82.6%. The Capitals power play ranks 17th at 19.4% and the Tampa bay has the 14th best Penalty kill. Pretty evenly balanced across the board. Stamkos being out will hurt the TB power play but they will still generate plenty of chances with Kucherov and Point.

I am happy hockey is back and am just hoping the Caps make it out of the round robin looking strong but more importantly that they stay healthy as well. Thanks for reading!
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