Capitals Face Must-Win Game as East Series Shifts to Columbus

Matthew Jordan

Monday, April 16, 2018 1:04 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 16, 2018 1:04 PM UTC

The Washington Capitals are in trouble as the Metropolitan Division champs are in a 2-0 first-round playoff hole vs. the Blue Jackets and headed to Columbus on Tuesday.

Game 2: Washington (0-2) at Columbus (2-0)Free NHL Pick: CapitalsBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Three games on the Stanley Cup playoffs slate Tuesday and one series could end already as expansion Vegas continues to surprise and has a commanding 3-0 lead over the Los Angeles Kings. Here, we’re going to talk about Washington at Columbus, with a 7:30 p.m. ET puck drop on the NBC Sports Network.

If you score four goals in a postseason game, you are absolutely supposed to win it. If you have a two-goal lead in the playoff game, you are absolutely supposed to win it. Yet here we are with the Capitals shockingly down 2-0, losing both at home to Columbus in overtime despite meeting both criteria listed above.

At BetOnline, the Blue Jackets are now +650 to win the Eastern Conference for the first time. Washington has risen to a price of +1400. Sure looks like this team is going to disappoint in the playoffs again – remember, superstar Alex Ovechkin, who goes down as a Top 10 player all-time, has never been past the second round. That’s just not acceptable.

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take it away, celine.#cbj | #marchon

— x - columbus blue jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 16, 2018

Goalie Change for Caps?

After losing Game 1 4-3 in overtime – blowing a 2-0 second-period lead – the Capitals led Game 2 3-1 on Ovechkin’s second power-play goal of the night at 4:09 of the second Sunday. The Jackets then scored three straight in the period to lead 4-3, with the Caps’ T.J. Oshie tying it at 16:25 of the third on the power play. However, Matt Calvert won it at 12:22 of OT with his first goal of the series.

Both teams were great with the man advantage, with Columbus 2-for-4 and Washington 3-for-7. I’d imagine there’s a rather short list of teams losing a playoff game when scoring three power-play goals. Only 49 of 361 teams (13.6 percent) have dug out of 2-0 hole to win a best-of-seven series in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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The @BlueJacketsNHL are the fourth different team in NHL history to overcome a multi-goal deficit and win each of their first two games of a #StanleyCup Playoffs series. #NHLStats #CBJvsWSH

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 16, 2018

I believe Capitals coach Barry Trotz is going to make a goaltender switch for Game 3. Philipp Grubauer allowed four goals on 22 shots in two periods Sunday before being pulled for ex-starter Braden Holtby. He stopped the first seven shots he faced but allowed the game winner in overtime on No. 8. The Capitals had a whopping 58 shots on goal, with Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky setting a career high with 54 saves. Columbus improved to 4-1 all-time in playoff overtime games.

Couple of injury notes from Game 2. Jackets center Alexander Wennberg didn’t play after taking a hit to the head from Tom Wilson in Game 1. Caps winger Andre Burakovsky left with an upper-body injury during the first period. Center Jay Beagle had missed the final three games of the regular season and Game 1 with an upper-body injury but was in the lineup Sunday. He had a goal and was 11-for-16 on faceoffs – Beagle’s the team’s best at that.

  • Capitals are 5-0 in their last 5 road games.
  • Blue Jackets are 1-6 in their last 7 when their opponent allows 5 goals or more in their previous game.

I’m taking Washington here for a Tuesday NHL pick with the expectation that it will be Holtby in net. True, he hasn’t had a great season, but I believe he steps it up and that four goals WILL be enough for a victory this time for the Capitals. They are too good to get swept.

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