The Washington Capitals are making a mockery of the Golden Knights’ penalty killing in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Knights entered the final with a success rate of almost 83 percent. But after four games against Washington, which is 4 of 12 on the power play, the percentage is 67 percent.
The Capitals went 3-for-5 with the man advantage at Capital One Arena on Monday in a 6-2 victory that gave them a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Washington’s power play is scoring at one of the highest rates in postseason history, converting 29.6 percent (21 of 71). According to the NHL, only two teams have fared better since the league began tracking power-play percentage in 1977-78 — the 1981 New York Islanders were 37.8 percent (31 of 82) and the 1994 Toronto Maple Leafs were 29.7 percent (22 of 74).
“They’re a special group,” Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt said. “You have to honor what they have. They have three different guys who can score at any time.”
Center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said the Knights must improve if they want to prolong the series.
“We have to do a better job of covering them,” he said. “Letting in three goals is unacceptable. “Too many players are free and open, and they’re putting away their chances. We’ve got to get up on them quicker.”
No ruling by NHL on hit from Oshie
There was no news Tuesday from the NHL’s department of player safety in the wake of T.J. Oshie’s hit in Game 4 that resulted in a broken nose for Knights defenseman Colin Miller. On the play, Michal Kempny scored for Washington with Miller hunched over and unable to rejoin the play.
“That fifth goal, which nobody liked, thought there should be a penalty against them,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said Tuesday. “They scored again and win the hockey game.”
Miller is expected to play in Game 5 on Thursday at T-Mobile Arena.
Caps look to clinch Stanley Cup on road
If the Capitals win the Stanley Cup on Thursday, they will become the fourth team in six years to clinch on the road.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won their last two Cups on the road — at Nashville in 2017 and San Jose in 2016 — and the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks won the Cup in Boston. The 2015 Blackhawks and 2014 Los Angeles Kings clinched at home.
“We just want to win the next game,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday. “There’s no placing a ‘do it at home.’ We just want to do it, and that’s the message. It doesn’t matter where you get it done.”