Somehow, the Blue Jackets keep finding ways to get it done. Last night, Matt Calvert scored the team's second overtime winner in as many games to seize a 2–0 lead on the Capitals.
A look at interesting stats and numbers of note as the series shifts to Columbus for Tuesday night's Game 3.
Worrying Trends for the Capitals
The Blue Jackets need just two wins in the five potential remaining games to close out the Capitals and win the first playoff series in franchise history. With the next two set to take place at Nationwide Arena, you have to like the Jackets' odds.
Here are a few reasons to like them even better:
The Capitals become just the 6th team in NHL history to lose in overtime of both Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series at home
All 5 of the previous teams lost their respective series
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 16, 2018
Five is a rather small sample size, so maybe this next stat carries more weight for the Blue Jackets: Teams that take a 2–0 lead in a best-of-seven playoffs series hold an all-time series record of 312–49. That's an 86.4% close out rate. Not bad.
If you narrow that group down to teams that have taken a 2–0 lead on the road to start a series, meaning the underdogs only like the Jackets, those teams are still 70–19 (78.7%) in series play.
Panarin, Jones, Werenski and PLD Shining
With two more assists last night, Artemi Panarin has five points through the first two games of the playoffs, putting him in a tie for 5th in postseason scoring. Boston's David Pasternak, fresh off a six-point game, leads all scorers with nine points.
Among rookies, Pierre-Luc Dubois is tied for first in points (2), and is second in time on ice (23:20/game) and shifts (29.5/game).
Seth Jones and Zach Werenski combined for five points in Game 2 – Jones with two assists and Werenski with a goal and two assists. With three points each through two games, they're tied for 4th in postseason scoring among defenseman. As a pairing, they're 2nd in in combined scoring, one point behind Pittsburgh's Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang. The Pens have three games under their belts, however.
Speaking of Jones, he continues to gobble up minutes as he emerges as one of the best two-way defenders in the league. His 31:32 of ice time and 41.0 shifts per game are both NHL highs this postseason.
Sergei Bobrovsky is leading all goalies – by a good stretch – in saves per game with 44.0 per outing through two playoff contests. His GAA is a little higher than he'd like at 3.04 and his save percentage of .920 puts him near the middle of the pack of starting goalies in the postseason.
Three Blue Jackets are among six players shooting 100% in the postseason. Alexander Wennberg, Matt Calvert, and Josh Anderson are among that group with one goal on one shot.
Special Teams a Mixed Bag
It's been interesting to hear both the Blue Jackets and Capitals stress the importance of avoiding penalties that have cost each team through two games.
The Blue Jackets can't seem to stay out of the box, handing the Capitals 13 power plays, which Washington has taken advantage of by building a 2-0 lead in Game 1 and a 3-1 lead in Game 2. This was most apparent in the 3rd period of Game 2 with the Jackets, nursing a one-goal lead, giving the Caps four-straight power play opportunities in the final period, with Washington tying the game up on the third offering from the Jackets.
The Blue Jackets surrendered six or more power play chances to opponents in just one game this regular season. They've done it twice in two games against the Caps in this series.
The Capitals have just two goals at even strength in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
For their part, the Capitals have taken dumb penalties, too, allowing the Blue Jackets to tie Game 1 twice in the third period on power play goals. Last night, the Blue Jackets used two second period power play goals as part of a run to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead.
While the Capitals have had more chances, the Blue Jackets are converting at a better rate, scoring on 50% of their opportunities (4-8), which is good enough for 2nd among all teams in postseason play. The Caps are 5-13 on the power play, putting them 4th among playoff teams at 38.5%.
With both teams so hot on the power play, avoiding penalties is a must. But these two teams may not learn that lesson before the series is over.
The Blue Jackets are now 4–1 all-time in playoff games that go to overtime and 1–11 in playoff games that are settled in regulation.
That's, uh, nuts.
Correction: This article originally stated the Blue Jackets were 3–1 all-time in overtime games played in the postseason. In fact, they are indeed 4–1.