Panthers vs Capitals Playoff Preview
If you like goals, this is the series for you. Both Florida and Washington are filled with players that have no issues putting the puck in the net as well as goaltenders who have been largely underwhelming and inconsistent for a majority of the season. These teams have met three times this season with Florida winning two: Panthers 2-1-0; Capitals 1-1-1.
An incredible season from the Florida Panthers saw them break a franchise record for points on their way to winning the Presidents’ Trophy for having the most points in the league with 122. When you watch the Panthers it’s impossible not to notice they score a ridiculous amount of goals and because of that you can never count them out of a game. No lead is safe against the Florida Panthers this year.
It will come as a massive boost to the Panthers when their star defenceman Aaron Ekblad returns to the lineup for game one after missing more than a month due to injury. Adding Ekblad back to this roster should help fix some of the issues Florida has seen with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Although he hasn’t been bad, Bobrovsky has been inconsistent and the Panthers will hope they get Bobrovsky for a streak at the top of his game.
The Capitals come into this series with questions regarding the goaltending position. Both Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek have underperformed on the season and will be in tough against the most dangerous offence in the league. Luckily for the Capitals goalies, they don’t have to worry about stopping any Alex Ovechkin shots. Ovi continued to show no signs of regression when it comes to scoring goals as the sniper once again reached the 50 goal mark on the season.
Washington possesses a certain wild card that is almost unmatchable in the NHL and it will be interesting to see how Florida responds to it. That wild card is Tom Wilson, who brings a dominant game of physicality and skill providing a rare factor the Capitals may need to rely on.
Keys To The Series
The Panthers are the first team since the 1995-96 Penguins to average over four goals per game (4.11) which will be a massive threat to this Capitals team that struggles to keep the puck out of their own net. The Capitals will come in with a game-plan to play heavy and punishing hockey in an attempt to disrupt the offensive flare of their opponents.