Caps Need Fresh Blood in Game 3

Posted August 15, 2020

Martin Fehervary (Caps Outsider)

The Caps need changes. Now. There are three lineup changes that could make a positive difference as the Caps attempt to claw out of the 0-2 series hole. Reirden himself admitted that he is going to look at “all things” for the lineup on Sunday.

Those changes should find a way to get Connor McMichael, Daniel Sprong and Martin Fehervary in the lineup.

If Nicklas Backstrom is unavailable for Game 3, McMichael should be the third line center instead of Travis Boyd. In Friday’s 5-2 loss, Boyd played a measly 6:38. In the playoffs where depth and game changing ability is the key to success, the Caps have some of that in McMichael. With Backstrom and his skill set being unavailable, the Caps should be doing everything they can do inject more skill into the lineup.

As for Sprong, he can provide more scoring touch that is desperately needed. While he only appeared in eight games for the Anaheim Ducks this year, he provided a huge boost offensively.

The “+45%” means he provides a 45% increase in offense relative to league average. In those eight games with the Ducks, he scored two points. In 39 games with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, he registered 27 points before being traded to Washington. In five games with the Hershey Bears, spring potted a goal and had five assists before the pause. Sprong also had a two goal game in one of the scrimmages during summer training camp. If the Caps are looking for some scoring in their bottom six, Sprong would be a player to try and provide it.

Defensively, Caps are clearly having trouble with the Islanders’ forecheck. This was profoundly evident before the fourth goal for the Isles. It took two and three Capitals to just jar the puck loose from one Islander’s player. And when the Caps did knock the puck away, it went right to an awaiting Islander.

When the Caps could get possession of the puck, they couldn’t get it out of their own zone. Nick Jensen and Michal Kempny are simply not getting it done. Fehervary has performed well when given the chance. According to Chartinghockey, Fehervary had a goals for percentage of and a corsi for percentage of 55% in his one game in the bubble. Kempny on the other hand is at 42% for both his goals for and corsi percentages. Friday, Jensen had a corsi for percentage of 21.43%, according to NaturalStatTrick.

The Caps need a spark. And these three players could be the spark they need.