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Caps Outsider Round Table: Caps vs. Blue Jackets
Who is going to be the starting goalie for Washington? At the end of the day, it won’t matter who ends up in net. Both Holtby or Grubauer are wonderful options. This Caps team feels different than any recent team going into the playoffs. Everything will not be on the shoulders of Ovechkin this time around as the second and third lines will need to produce. The only thing that will stop the Capitals from winning this series is if Blue Jackets goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky becomes a unbeatable god (which he has become in the past). I don’t think this is the year for that to happen however and Washington wins in 6.
Caps in 6
This series could easily turn into a bloodbath, and there are two scenarios that I see playing out. If Trotz tries to go hit for hit against Columbus by putting the likes of DSP and Chiasson in the lineup over Vrana and possibly Gersich, it will not work in their favor to put it nicely. Columbus has one of the top defensive pairings in the league in Werenski-Jones, and have a lethal goal scorer in Panarin that can cause a lot of damage.
If Trotz utilizes his players correctly, however, the Capitals probably have the skill and depth to take this series in six games. They’ve quietly been one of the league’s better teams over the last couple of months. In a perfect world, they seem destined for a third consecutive chance to fight their demons against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Caps in 6
The Blue Jackets have a major strength that they did not have last year: Artemi Panarin. If he continues to play like he has all season, it will be a long series for the defense pair assigned to shadow him.
The Caps’ record was far better than I anticipated this season, though they showed signs of, you know, having the ability to lose games. Yet the Columbus Blue Jackets don’t send shivers up my spine. Though the Caps will have to dig deep – as they always do – to win a series, the nail-biting heads-or-tails finishes will come up Caps.
Caps in 7.
The games with Columbus are always close and hard hitting affairs. This series will be a grind. While the Caps are coming in hot, I don’t see them winning this series. This Caps team is not very good. Ovechkin will carry the team, but I just don’t see him being able to do it in this series. The depth will be the deciding factor, and with Trotz’s lineup decisions questionable I don’t see the depth showing up. Blue Jackets in 6