Caps 5, Devils 2 - Capitals Hang On Against Devils After Hot Start
The Washington Capitals jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead this afternoon then presumably took their foot off the gas and allowed the New Jersey Devils to claw their way back into the game. It wasn't a perfect game but they did enough to get the win in regulation.
Here are the stats from the game today:
Shots on Goal:
WSH – 24
NJD – 24
NJD – 49.2%
WSH – 0/2
NJD – 1/3
WSH – 15
NJD – 8
WSH – 13
NJD – 11
WSH – 45
NJD – 47
Chances For (5v5):
WSH – 43
NJD – 43
Scoring Chances For:
WSH – 17
NJD – 19
Scoring Chances For (5v5):
WSH – 16
NJD – 17
High Danger Chances For:
WSH – 11
NJD – 6
High Danger Chances For: (5v5):
WSH – 10
NJD – 5
One thing that jumped out to me from the advanced stats was just how much the Capitals held an advantage for “high danger chances” at both 5v5 and for all strengths. The Capitals scored multiple goals off some of these high danger chances and that ultimately was the difference in the game.
Here are my takeaways from the game:
Quick Start…Slow Finish – The Washington Capitals are notorious for getting out to slow starts on early afternoon games. Today was not the case. The Capitals jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first 5:06 of the first period and held a 6-0 shot advantage. The Capitals would eventually end the period up 3-1. Shots were 14-8 in favor of the Capitals when the first period concluded. The first period was a great display of all-around hockey from the Capitals and just a taste of how dangerous they can be when they play with a sense of urgency and things are clicking on all cylinders.
After the first period the Devils really found their legs and started taking it to the Capitals. Between the second and third periods, the Devils outshot the Capitals 16-10. Notably in the third period, I thought the Devils had a plethora of opportunities to tie the game at 3-3. The Capitals defense had some timely blocks and Vanecek played his best hockey of the game in the third period. At 5v5 in the third period, the Devils held a 9-5 shot advantage, a 10-3 scoring chance advantage, and a 4-1 high danger chance advantage. It is honestly a miracle the Devils did not tie it up at 3-3 with how well they were buzzing early in the third period.
I think it was awesome to finally see the Capitals start an afternoon game with some tempo and a sense of urgency. I was equally disappointed that they seemed to take their foot off the gas. The Devils almost made them pay for it today, but the Capitals found a way to get the W
Vrana Clutch Goal – With 8:11 left in the third period and the Capitals up 3-2, Vrana sprung loose for a breakaway and buried it on Blackwood. I feel like I am not alone when I say that there was a collective sigh of relief from everyone on the Capitals side when Vrana scored. Before this Vrana goal, the Devils held a 8-2 shot advantage against the Capitals in the third period. Without this momentum swinging goal, maybe the Devils find a way to tie it at 3-3. It is worth noting Vrana had 13:13 TOI and was benched for part of the 2nd period. What a way to respond in the third.
4th Line Continues to Contribute– The entire 4th line played a magnificent game. This line held a team leading 57.14% “Corsi For” advantage. Hathaway had a goal and a team-high five hits. Carl Hagelin had two assists and played great on the PK today. He also drew a key penalty late in third period on Palmieri to offset the Devils PP with about four minutes left in the game. Nic Dowd also scored an empty netter. This 4th line has taken some heat in recent weeks for not playing well but this is back to back games with really strong performances.
Next up, the Capitals face the New Jersey Devils again tomorrow for the second half of a back to back. I am not sure who we will see in net. I know Vanecek is the work horse, but Craig Anderson did play well against New Jersey for his lone appearance and win of the season. Considering how the Devils finished this game, I would imagine we see a lot more of the same in the first period tomorrow. The Capitals need to be ready to from the start of game otherwise they could find themselves in a hole again.
That is all, folks! Thanks for reading and GO CAPS
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