When teams go up 2-0 in a series they are 324-51 (.864 win percentage). The New York Islanders have that chance today.
At 8:00 pm tonight, the New York Islanders will be taking on the Washington Capitals in Game 2. Naturally, in the playoffs, every game is important but sometimes, even early in the series like Game 2, the stakes are high.
The Islanders have a chance to go up 2-0 on the Washington Capitals. While the Isles would still need two more wins to take home the series after that, going up 2-0 gives you an 86% chance of advancing all-time.
Teams are 324-51 when winning the first two games of a series. Again, the series would be by no means over at that point, but a comfy two-game lead would feel pretty nice.
So what do the Islanders have to do today in order to ensure they go up 2-0? Stop taking penalties for starters! The Penalty Kill has been atrocious for the Isles through five games in the playoffs.
Through five games, the Islanders have the second-worst PK in the playoffs with a 71.4 penalty kill percentage. During the regular season, the Isles were in the top half of the NHL killing off 80.7 percent (15th in the NHL). 71.4 percent would’ve been worse in the league by a mile if that was their pace over the full regular season.
Lars Eller is making his return today after his wife gave birth. In Game 1, the Capitals were without Backstrom and Eller for essentially the entire way which was an advantage to the Islanders solid center depth.
During 5v5, the Isles were the much better team. They allowed just 11 shots for the Capitals at 5v5 and of those 11 only three were considered high danger.
Braden Holtby also struggled in net for the Caps on Wednesday afternoon. During the regular season, Holtby had just a .897 save percentage, by far the worst of his career.
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If the Islanders are able to stay out of the penalty box, limit the 5v5 chances, and take advantage of a struggling Holtby, there’s no reason to think that they can’t take Game 2 in this series.