The Washington Capitals are used to giving themselves a hard time in the playoffs. They have become synonymous with choke in the NHL. Back at it again, the Caps are close to choking on their playoff chances. Losing Game 1 and 2 in D.C. sets up a hole for them as the series turns to Columbus. They were not blowouts, with both losses coming in overtime. However, good teams know how to win those close games.
The Capitals haven’t learned the concept of closing opposing teams out in the playoffs. Even after blowing so many opportunities, though, the Capitals seem to be outdoing themselves in 2018. They usually decide to choke up a hairball in later rounds against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s looking like they might not even get that far.
It certainly takes four games to win a series, though. The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t won anything yet, but it’s going to take something the Capitals haven’t been good at in the last decade, face adversity and overcome it. If this were the regular season, the Capitals would have absolutely won those two games. That’s just how it goes with this team.
The Caps started the series off with Philipp Grabauer in net, and after he gave up 4 goals was pulled. Due to a poor year for Braden Holtby, the Capitals went with the hotter hand to start the playoffs. Grabauer wasn’t necessarily hot, but Holtby was a pylon between the pipes. Holtby went in to allow a goal, the eventual dagger in Game 2. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Blue Jackets pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Game 3 Pick
If the Capitals got an ounce of goaltending in Game 2, they would have won that one. If one less garbage goal isn’t given up, the Caps go on to win that game. They’ve been relying on their offence all season long carrying the load for them. In a typical year, the Capitals are playing at the top of the league defensively, in the top-5 in goals allowed per game. In 2017-18, the Caps were 16th with 2.9 goals allowed per. So, this isn’t a new problem for Washington, they’ve been dealing with issues in net and the blue line all year long. In other words, no, this wouldn’t be as bad as previous choke jobs. They’ve had much stronger teams in previous years.
The Capitals have already allowed 9 goals in this series. In their last ten games, they’ve given up 3.1 goals per game, so it’s just been carrying over into the playoffs. The Caps were also unfortunate to run into a Blue Jackets team who have been on fire offensively. They’ve scored 4.1 goals per game in their last ten, and have been slicing through the Capitals pretty easily. Their last eight games have gone OVER the total. The last five games have gone OVER for the Caps. Additionally, the total has gone 4-0 to the OVER in their last four meetings. Who knows what’s going to happen in net for the Caps tonight, but I am willing to bet they will have issues again. It will be another case of the offence trying to carry the load. I recommend a play on the OVER.