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2011 NHL Playoffs, Capitals Vs. Lightning Preview: Penalty Kill An Asset To Caps, Lightning

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 V, we look at both team's penalty kill units.

The Capitals' penalty kill during the regular season was one of the best in the NHL and that continued into the playoffs. Yet, they may have met their match against the Lightning.

Washington went 19-for-20 on the PK against the New York Rangers (95 percent), but Tampa Bay went 34-for-35 against the Pittsburgh Penguins (97.1 percent). Both teams had lofty numbers during the regular season as well, with the Caps ranking second at 85.6 percent and the Lightning ranking eighth at 83.8 percent. The Caps will not need to worry about defending their end of the ice as much when on the power play; the Lightning scored only one shorthanded goal all season. Washington had seven shorthanded goals of its own from seven different players.

Tampa Bay's power play is potent with a 20.5 percent success rate during the regular season and 29.6 percent during the playoffs. The Caps have not allowed a power play goal at home during the playoffs and the Lightning have not allowed one on the road, so something has to give. The Caps have proven this season that the penalty kill is just as dangerous as their power play (when it's not slumping) so they must continue to block shots and get quick line changes to keep the Lightning at bay (no pun intended).