The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New Jersey Devils last night in Newark, officially punching the ticket for the Washington Capitals into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They won it in overtime with a sensational goal by Sidney Crosby. The Caps have five games left and seem to have figured out their lines in preparation of going into the post-season:
8 – 92 – 43
65 – 19 – 77
10/63 – 20 – 13
18 – 83/72 – 25/39
9 – 2
6 – 74
44 – 29/28
Can these line combinations send them pass the second round? Can they pass the first? I believe they can, and here’s why.
The top six forwards are solidified, they will only rotate amongst each other because they are the best offensive weapons on the Caps. The only two I could see rotating in are Brett Connolly and Shane Gersich. Depending on how Connolly performs in the first 3-4 playoff games, I could see whoever on the 3rd line and the other one the healthy scratch. The fourth line will rotate based on the opponent and needs of the team, for example: if the Caps end up playing the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round, we could see 18-83-25 because of Devante Smith-Pelly‘s ability to lay the body to match the physicality of the Broad Street Bullies. If they play the Pittsburgh Penguins, we could see Alex Chiasson in for his power forward style.
I don’t see the defensive pairs moving too much, however, they could change based on temporary chemistry and play. Michal Kempny and John Carlson are a good opposite balance of defense and offense blue line play. If the Caps want more attack from the back two, I could see Christian Djoos in Kempny’s spot with Carlson. The third pair will most likely stay Brooks Orpik and Djoos, but we could see Jakub Jerabek in depending on the performance of the defense.
That’s my take on the upcoming post-season. I’m crossing my fingers, checking my calender, and planning out my “uniform” and dinner for the ultimate fandom experience from my couch. I believe Caps can pull it off this season, as long as no one holds anything back. Everyone needs to put everything they got on the table. Guys like Jakub Vrana and Andre Burakovsky could make a huge impact for the team if they start clicking come playoffs. As always, follow us on Twitter @InColdPlacesDC and my personal handle @Jurky88 for Caps updates and insight. Have blessed day, and go Caps!