Pick 'Em: First Round Opponent

The NHL playoffs are less than three weeks away, and for a Capitals team that is seeming to have difficulty getting up for games, and the fan base tried of watching them lose to the Atlantas, Torontos, and Los Angeleses of the world, the postseason can't come soon enough.  Now that a Capitals playoff berth is officially secured and a division lead seems ready to follow, and in an effort to fight increasing apathy about the season's last couple of weeks, we figured now might be a good time to consider who the Caps might face in the first round, a topic that has been looked at before here at Japers' Rink, though not for a couple weeks. Since then some teams have gotten hot (Pittsburgh) and others have faltered (Montreal; Florida) and there has been some pretty significant standings shuffling. 

As we see it, there are five teams the Caps could conceivably face in the first round:

Carolina Florida Montreal New York Pittsburgh
Record 41-28-7 36-28-11 38-27-9 39-27-9 40-27-8
Points Per Game 1.17 1.12 1.15 1.16 1.17
Last 10 7-1-2 3-4-3 4-4-2 6-3-1 7-1-2
GF/Game 2.87 2.67 3.01 2.57 3.13
GA/Game 2.80 2.69 3.04 2.72 2.96
Goal Diff/Game 0.07 -0.02 -0.03 -0.15 0.17
Powerplay Success 17.7% 15.7% 17.8% 14.4% 17.1%
PP Per Game
4.53 3.75 4.55 4.23 4.37
Penalty Kill 79.3% 82.4% 81.9% 87.7% 81.8%
Times SH Per Game
3.68 3.85 4.55 4.00 4.24
Save Percentage .907 .921 .906 .912 .905

 

Here's how the Capitals performed against each of their potential opponents this season:

Carolina Florida Montreal New York Pittsburgh
Record* 2-3-1 3-2-0 2-1-1 3-0-1 3-0-1
GF/Game 1.83 3.00 3.00 3.50 4.50
GA/Game 3.17 2.80 2.25 2.50 2.75
Goal Diff/Game -1.34 0.20 0.75 1.00 1.75
Powerplay Success 24.0% 25.0% 21.4% 20.0% 29.4%
Powerplays 25 12 14 15 17
PP Per Game
4.17 2.40 3.5 3.75 4.25
Penalty Kill 92.0% 78.6% 75.0% 92.9% 73.9%
Times Shorthanded 25 28 20 14 23
Times SH/ Game 4.17 5.6 5.00 3.50 5.75
Save Percentage .893
.868 .931 .910 .908
Save Pct. Against
.949 .906 .903 .888 .870
Last Game
L, 4-1 W, 3-0 SOW, 4-3 SOL, 5-4 SOL, 4-3

*For the purposes of the head-to-head records, all games that went to the shootout are considered ties.

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