A sign this Capitals team is different than years past? Washington improved their playoff road record to 7-1 following a commanding 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Capitals now lead the series 2-0 with back-to-back road wins.
The seven road wins is the most among the NHL this postseason and matches a franchise record for a postseason.
The last time the Capitals won seven road playoff games in a postseason it was 1998. That’s the last time the Capitals reached a Conference Final and the the same year in which they reached their lone Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.
The @Capitals earned their League-leading seventh road win of the 2018 #StanleyCup Playoffs and matched a club record set during the 1998 postseason, when the team reached the Stanley Cup Final. #NHLStats #WSHvsTBL pic.twitter.com/EDUOkjp2U5
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 14, 2018
The Capitals’ seven wins away from Capital One Arena have come in dramatic fashion.
They used a Lars Eller double-overtime goal for a Game 3 win at Columbus back in the first round. They followed that up with a 4-1 win in Game 4 to even their best-of-seven series at 2-2 after losing the first two games at home. They returned to Columbus for a series-clinching Game 6 win, in which they dominated 6-3.
In the second round they got a pivotal Game 3 win at Pittsburgh to take a 2-1 series lead. Their lone road loss came the following game in Game 4 on May 3. But they bounced back in Game 6, winning off an Evgeny Kuznetsov overtime goal to clinch the series 4-2.
In the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay, the first two games were not even close. In Game 1, the Capitals scored the game’s first four goals, limiting the Lightning to four shots on goal for the game’s first 27 minutes. Washington won 4-2. And in Game 2 after falling behind 2-1 in the first period, the Capitals scored five unanswered goals to run away with victory.
The #Capitals are:
– 10-2 in their last 12 playoff games.
– 4-0 in games when Backstrom has missed time.
– 7-1 on the road this postseason
– Up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) May 14, 2018
And to think these wins have come without a combination of three of their top forwards — Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson, and/or Nicklas Backstrom.
No matter the sport, defense travels. For the Capitals, their defense has traveled leading them to two wins away from reaching their second Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s history. Their suffocating defense has stifled two of the league’s best offense, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay and allowed them to regain control of a first-round series with Columbus.
In the eight road games, the Capitals are outscoring their opponents 30-14. Hard to beat any team that can score and defend like that on the road. Up 2-0 in the series, Washington has a golden opportunity to make quick work of the Eastern Conference Final with two home games against the Lightning coming up.