The 2011 NHL Playoffs second-round series schedule between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning has now been set. Here is our six-part preview of the series. In Part IV, we look at both team's power play units.
Tampa Bay's power play is incredibly effective. On the other hand, the Caps have struggled on the power play all season. This might be the area to watch for in this series.
Tampa Bay scored eight power play goals in 27 opportunities during its series with the Pittsburgh Penguins (29.6 percent), while the Caps were just 3-for-16 with the man advantage against the New York Rangers (18.8 percent). In the first round series with the Rangers, the Caps had the luxury of playing a team whose power play was as inept as theirs during the regular season, but that is not the case against Tampa Bay. A 20.5 percent success rate during the regular season. Steven Stamkos was second in the NHL with 17 PPG, while Vincent Lecavalier was eighth with 12. Stamkos' favorite spot to fire from is the left faceoff circle and his laser-like slap shot is tough to stop.
The Caps haven't had to rely on the power play this season or against the Rangers, but they might have to against the Lightning. The Caps had only 25:29 of power play time against the Rangers, which is the second-lowest total of any team remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (Detroit Red Wings). Washington will have to draw penalties to give it a chance to score and must take advantage when the opportunity presents itself.