|Goaltender||2019-20 Record||GAA / SV%|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||25-14-6 (48GP)||3.11 / .897|
|New York Islanders||Semyon Varlamov||19-14-6 (45GP)||2.62 / .914|
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are finally here. Game 1 between the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders is set for tomorrow, Wednesday August 12, 2020 at 3:00pm EST. So we’re here to get you set with everything you need to know in preparation for the first round.
The Washington Capitals won their last game of the Round Robin matches, which came as a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. The full TXHT Post-game report can be found here. Braden Holtby got the start once again, and understandably so, as he’s been the glue holding the Caps’ together throughout these few games. It wasn’t until late in the first period that either team got on the board, and it was Washington’s second shot on goal that made it past Tuukka Rask. TJ Oshie with his first goal of the post-season gave the Capitals a lead they would eventually hold onto to win the match.
The 2nd period was goal-less, but plenty of penalties were doled out, including a hooking penalty against Kovalchuk, another hooking penalty against Brandon Carlo, a holding-the-stick penalty against Jake DeBrusk, and matching minors to Sean Kuraly and TJ Oshie for roughing at the 20:00 minute mark. The Capitals were the only team to finish either the Round Robin or qualifying games without allowing a single power-play goal against. Meaning that, in eight times short-handed, the Capitals killed off every single penalty (including six versus the Flyers). At the 2:49 mark of the third period, Tom Wilson scored a beauty of a goal to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead, and was the eventual game-winning goal as well.
Unfortunately, Holtby’s shut-out hopes were crushed after a bad turnover led to Jake DeBrusk halving Washington’s lead at the 10:30 mark of the final frame. Thankfully however the Capitals were able to hold Boston off the board to hand them their third loss in three games. Despite not scoring, Alex Ovechkin led his team with five shots on goal. Braden Holtby is expected to start for the Caps in Game 1 versus the Islanders.
The New York Islanders (obviously) defeated the Florida Panthers in their best-of-5 qualifying series, three games to one, in which the Isles outscored the Cats 13-7. In that final game, two first period goals from Anthony Beauvillier won it for the Isles, even after Mike Hoffman tallied a power-play goal at the 18:41 mark of the first. But the Islanders weren’t done. Brock Nelson tallied his second of the post-season with a power-play goal at the 8:01 mark of the middle period, and Mat Barzal added to his team’s lead with a goal at the 10:34 mark of the third. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who was acquired from the Ottawa Senators prior to the pause, sealed the 5-1 win with an empty-net goal with just over two minutes remaining in the game. That would mark his 3rd goal of the playoffs. The Islanders heavily outshot the Panthers in that game, 38-25, and held Florida to just 8, 6, and 11 SOG through three periods, respectively (TheScore). The Isles also successfully killed off four of five Florida power-plays, and out-hit their opposition 40 to 28. Mathew Barzal led his team in assists and points (41, 60), and Brock Nelson led in goals (26). All but one player on the Isles roster scored at least one goal and 12 players tallied power-play goals, despite their PP ranking 24th in the league (17.3%). Semyon Varlamov is slated to start for the Islanders. The former Caps netminder (played three seasons with Washington) averaged a .917 SV% and a 2.66 GAA in 30 post-season starts, but put up his best numbers in his four starts the 2019-20 qualifying round. In four games, ‘Varly’ posted a .932 save percentage and allowed just 1.77 GAA (HockeyReference).
Below is the official schedule vs. NYI:
Game 1: Wed. at 3pm
Game 2: Fri. at 8pm
Game 3: Sun. Aug. 16 at 12pm
Game 4: Tues. Aug. 18 at 8pm
Game 5: Thurs. Aug. 20 TBD
Game 6: Sat. Aug. 22 TBD
Game 7: Sun. Aug. 23 TBD
The Washington Capitals and New York Islanders will play Game 1 on Wednesday August 12, 2020 at 3:00pm EST, and can be watched on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Washington.
HockeyReference. (2020). Semyon Varlamov Stats. Retrieved from https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/v/varlasi01.html#all_stats_basic_plus_nhl_po.
TheScore. (2020). New York Islanders News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/7
TheScore. (2020). Washington Capitals News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/15