Caps Find Themselves in Familiar Situation

Posted May 17, 2018

More good news: Nicklas Backstrom is back. (Caps Outsider)

After going up 2-0 on Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Caps came home and delivered a clunker on Tuesday, deservedly losing 4-2. While the Caps also fell 4-2 in Game 4 on Thursday, it was a much different kind of loss – the typical Washington playoff loss where the Capitals severely outplay their opponent but fall in the most nail-biting of circumstances. We’ve seen it many times of the past decade.

With a 38-20 shot advantage, the Caps at least put together a solid effort. Ultimately, three things did them in: A lousy first-period turnover, a power play goal which at this point is automatic for the Lightning,  and falling for a sneaky pass in the third period which proved to be the dagger. But why did only 2 of 38 shots go in? Because of Andrei Vasilevskiy, who decided to take on the game-stealer role.

Had the Caps been demolished in Game 4, as they were Tuesday, there would be more cause for concern. We already knew the Lightning weren’t coming to Washington without winning at least one game. They did that on Tuesday, but they stole Game 4. The series is now headed back to Tampa Bay, which we know doesn’t mean much in terms of home ice advantage.

It’s becoming less of a coincidence that the Caps have been playing better on the road in the playoffs. While it’s unlikely that the trend of only away teams winning, the Caps are still on good shape. They bounced back from their lousy Game 3, they’re tied 2-2 in the series (which somehow doesn’t seem as bad as those dreaded 3-1 series leads), and they’ve yet to play a really poor road game. This series ain’t over.

Go Caps.

More photos from Game 4: