Is The Washington Capitals' Playoff Run A Silver Lining For The Columbus Blue Jackets?

By Kyle Morrison on May 14, 2018 at 12:12 pm
The Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin and Braden Holtby are two games away from the Stanley Cup Final. Is this a good sign for the Columbus Blue Jackets?
USA Today – Kim Klement
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The Columbus Blue Jackets had the Washington Capitals on the ropes. Four games and a special teams implosion later, the Jackets were off to the golf course.

Two games into the first round, many seemingly buried the Capitals’ playoff chances. Their playoff window – and, seemingly, Alex Ovechkin’s last legit chance at a Stanley Cup – appeared to be closed.

Suddenly, the Caps are two wins away from the Prince of Wales Trophy – and six away from their ultimate goal. Their current opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning, looked near-untouchable for long stretches this season. The Caps have shelled them, outscoring them 10-4 through the first two games.

How’s this for a silver lining: the Blue Jackets’ disappointing playoff exit may have come at the hands of this year’s best team – and they may have been that team’s stiffest competition yet. They played the Caps tougher than anyone else – four overtime games and two consecutive road wins – despite their home ice implosion, and the 5-on-5 numbers back up that assertion.

Washington Capitals Playoff CF% By Game
  vs. CBJ vs. PIT vs. TBL
Game 1 47.42 58.18 53.14
Game 2 62.26 45.13 51.14
Game 3 55.07 51.52 --
Game 4 47.37 48.00 --
Game 5 44.00 43.14 --
Game 6 35.29 55.24 --
Average 48.57 50.21 52.28

Of course, five-on-five play doesn’t tell the whole tale. The Blue Jackets certainly deserved their fate after finishing the series with a 0-for-17 power play stretch. Not to mention that both of the Jackets’ wins came against Philipp Grubauer – not Braden Holtby, who has gone 10-2 since taking over in net. Additionally, score effects are a thing, so the Jackets' deficit in Game 6 (and subsequent 17-4 shot advantage in the series' final period) likely skewed the numbers. 

Regardless, the Blue Jackets have a case for being the East’s second-toughest playoff team despite the early exit. It’s a bitter consolation prize, given the exit, but a nice sentiment nonetheless.

That is, until you read the phrase “Tom Wilson, Stanley Cup Champion.”

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