Earlier, we looked at how the Caps stack up against the Isles in terms of possession, as well as how they can best stop John Tavares. Next up is goaltending and special teams. Let’s get right into it.
Braden Holtby is a better goalie than Jaroslav Halak.
What this means is that there’s no possible way Halak could steal this series for the Isles. But, Caps fans know all too well that any goalie, such as Halak, can get red hot in a seven-game series and carry his team to victory. Nonetheless, going into the series, the Caps have the edge in goal.
Here’s how both goalies have performed since the Olympic break last season. The rank is among the 36 goalies who have played 1800-plus minutes over that span.
|5v5 Save% (rank)||5v5 Adjusted Save% (rank)|
|Holtby||93.15% (8th)||93.49% (8th)|
|Halak||92.99% (24th)||92.99% (22nd)|
And here’s the 25-game rolling 5v5 adjusted save percentage for the 2014-15 season, delivered by War On Ice:
Again, Holtby is the better goalie. Does this mean Halak can’t outplay him in a seven-game series? No. But the only people who’d prefer Halak over Holtby in net for this series are Halak’s family.
And now here’s the special teams.
|SA/60 (rank)||PP Percentage (rank)|
|Caps||115.9 (1st)||25.3 (1st)|
|Islanders||96.5 (22nd)||18.7 (16th)|
|SA against/60 (rank)||PK Percentage (rank)|
|Caps||107.2 (28th)||81.2 (14th)|
|Islanders||103.2 (23rd)||78 (26th)|
The Isles better stay out of the box. The Caps have the best power play in the league, while the Isles penalty kill is one of the worst. As with any team, the Caps will benefit power play opportunities– though they’ve had trouble getting them during the season (23rd in the league). However, given the disparity between the Caps PP unit and the Isles PK, this is an advantage the Caps should be eager to exploit.
And while the Caps penalty kill leaves plenty to be desired, the Isles’ PP unit didn’t exactly light the league on fire this season.
The margin of error in the playoffs is razor thin. A series can often turn on a big save here or a power play goal there. While it’s not a guarantee of anything, the Caps’ edge in goaltending and their elite power play are both advantages heading into the series.
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