Photo Courtesy of Bleacher Report
After falling behind 0-2 in their series against the Blue Jackets are the Capitals in trouble?
By Chris Yackel
The Washington Capitals aren’t down two games to none in their series because of a lack of production from their star players. Alex Ovechkin has scored twice. Nicklas Backstrom has racked up 4 assists. Evgeny Kuznetsov has two goals. The Caps best defenseman John Carlson leads the team with 6 points all of them helpers. Even T.J. Oshie who has had a rough season to date seems to have found some early playoff magic. Oshie has a goal and an assist in the opening two games of the series.
The problem that is plaguing Washington lies both in net as Phillip Grubauer was not the answer in Games 1 and 2 and their inability to protect leads. Braden Holtby almost certainly will start Game 3 after relieving Grubauer of his duties after the second period. Grubauer who was impressive down the stretch run of the regular season for the Caps did not look ready for playoff hockey. Grubauer left too many shoddy rebounds for Columbus players to pounce on and just wasn’t on top of his game. However, the blame can not completely be put on Phillip Grubauer. Defensively the Caps have struggled as well.
The Caps defensively are doing a poor job of protecting leads. In both Games 1 and 2, Washington jumped out to a 2-0 lead. In Game 1 Washington was up 3-2 with 5:05 left in the third period. Andre Burakovsky would then proceed to take an ill fated tripping penalty that brought Columbus to the power-play. Columbus would score with 4:26 left in the period and later go onto lose in OT. In Game 2 Washington surrendered a 3-1 lead as well. This due not only to poor defensive play, but a lack of discipline and bad penalty killing. The Caps PK is only 4/8 as Columbus, who was ranked only 25th in the NHL on the power-play during the regular season looks like they have a pretty potent power-play all of a sudden.
The question needs to be answered after two straight OT losses are the Capitals in trouble? Although the Caps are down two games to none, they are not in trouble. Washington could easily be in Columbus’s position and hold a 2-0 series lead for themselves if they held onto their leads, or won in overtime. This series has been closer than what is being shown. The Caps have a great shot to even up this series, even if they are on the road as the series shifts to Columbus. Ultimately, the Caps are down, but they are not out. However, if they lose tomorrow night then it’s a completely different story.
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