Will The Caps Finally Best The Pens?

Deja vu or the Caps due?

The Fan Morning Show
April 24, 2018 - 11:38 am
Malkin scores on Holtby

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals when they beat Pittsburgh in 6 games. 

Since then, the Capitals are 0-7 in playoff series against the Penguins, including three Game 7 losses for a combined game record of 16-28.

OK pal, this isn't the 90's. Let's not include that stuff.  

Fine, the "Ovechkin era" Capitals are a combined 0-3 in playoff series against Pittsburgh, with two Game 7 losses for combined game record of 8-12. 

So here we are again. Another Pens-Caps playoff series. Are the Caps finally due for a series win or will the dismal Caps history repeat itself? 

The Fan Morning Show talked about this today and started the discussion with the man in net. Despite losing his starting spot earlier this season to Philipp Grubauer, Braden Holtby will be back as the starting goaltender to start things. 

In two playoff series loses to the Penguins in his career, Holtby has started 13 games for a 5-8 record with a .908 save percentage and 2.54 goals against average. For perpective, Holtby owns an overall 33-31 record in the postseason with a career .932 save percentage and a .199 goals against average. So are the Penguins in his head?

Colin Dunlap said that Pittsburgh indeed lives inside the mind of Holtby until proven otherwise and Post-Gazette Penguins writer Jason Mackey agreed when he came on the show today. 

"Some of it is just tactically what the Penguins do. I mean Patric Hornqvist is just really, really good at annoying the other goaltender and I think Holtby has found himself a little bit more susceptible to that," said Mackey. "I don't know if we can put a finger on any one thing but there's enough results there that I think there's substantial [evidence], home and road, that the Penguins have just knocked him all around. There's a psychological thing there, for sure."

The guys wondered how long the proverbial leash will be for Holtby in this series, considering they already turned to Grubauer earlier this season. Game 1 may be ultra-important for him, as he needs to get off to a good start and set the tone for himself to not repeat past disasters.

Guest co-host Paul Zeise said today that the Capitals showed him something extra by coming back to win their series against Columbus after being down by two games to start and ripping off four straight wins. The guys also cited that two big shot blockers from the past two seasons in Nick Bonino and Ian Cole are no longer with the team, although Riley Sheahan has done similar things. So, maybe things are a little different this season.

Is this the year the Capitals break through? We can't wait to watch and find out.