Washington Capitals (59-29-9) at Tampa Bay Lightning (63-27-5)
|Date & Time||Saturday May 19, 2018, 7:15 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning / Washington Capitals --- Over/Under:
The Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lighting meet Saturday for game five of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals at the Amalie Arena.
The Washington Capitals could use a victory here to take a 3-2 series lead heading home for game six on Monday. The Washington Capitals are averaging 3.1 goals per game and are scoring on 22.5 percent of their power play opportunities. Alex Ovechkin leads Washington with 10 goals, John Carlson has 11 assists and Evgeny Kuznetsov has 65 shots on goal. Defensively, the Washington Capitals are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 80.3 percent of their opponents power plays. Braden Holtby has given up 34 goals on 409 shots faced and Philipp Grubauer has allowed eight goals on 49 shots. The Washington Capitals have allowed three or more goals in six of their last 10 games.
The Tampa Bay Lighting can inch one game closer to a Stanley Cup Finals berth by winning their third straight game. The Tampa Bay Lighting are averaging 3.5 goals per game and are scoring on 23.9 percent of their power play opportunities. Nikita Kucherov leads Tampa Bay with seven goals, Victor Hedman has 10 assists and Tyler Johnson has 35 shots on goal. Defensively, the Tampa Bay Lighting are allowing 2.9 goals per game and are killing 76.1 percent of their opponents power plays. Andrei Vasilevskiy has given up 36 goals on 439 shots faced and Louis Domingue has allowed zero goals on seven shots. The Tampa Bay Lighting have allowed three or less goals in six of their last eight games.
The Capitals are 14-2 in their last 16 road games, 77-32 in their last 109 games playing on 1 days rest and 10-4 in their last 14 overall. The Lightning are 42-16 in their last 58 games playing on 1 days rest, 4-1 in their last 5 games following a win and 72-34 in their last 106 overall. The Capitals are 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Tampa Bay, 15-7 in the last 22 meetings and the over is 20-7-4 in the last 31 meetings.
I was on the Washington Capitals in both road games and we cashed both as big underdogs, and I thought they would take that same energy onto their home ice. Uh, no. The Tampa Bay Lighting dominated in Washington, which includes outscoring them 8-4 and getting off a combined 33 total shots more than the Capitals. It's hard to ignore those numbers, and I'm not sure the Capitals just flip a switch and get back to the way they were playing in the first two games. Not to mention it has to depressing going back to Tampa Bay with the series tied when you already won on the road twice. It's not easy winning three road games in a series, especially against a team that's better than you on paper. I like the home team to finally win a game in this series.