When it comes to the Eastern conference’s second-round series against the New York Islanders, the Capitals will have a lot of options.
But the top line of Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, and Nicklas Backstrom is the only one that can make it look easy, with the goal of keeping the Isles from scoring enough goals to take a 2-1 series lead.
And in order to make the Islanders look good, they will need to play as if the Capitals are playing against their former team.
The Capitals are also relying on their top defensemen, which has them playing on a line that is expected to be a line of Ryan Strome, John Erskine, and Matt Niskanen.
While Strome and Ersky are expected to start, Strome is more likely to be the player to start against the Islanders, because of the high-octane style of play that will be used.
That’s not to say the Caps are going to lose to the Islanders.
The Islanders have proven they can score, and will likely score a lot.
They are also expected to play a very physical game.
But it’s also not to be taken lightly.
In order to win, the Caps will need a line with great defensive play, great offense, and a solid goaltending performance.
The first thing the Caps need to do is look at the top three lines that are expected at this series.
John Carlson and Alex Ovedchyk are going in with the Caps.
They were among the best players on their team last year, and they are both expected to get the most ice time.
They will be expected to carry the offense, but they are not going to be relied upon for the goals they will get.
Nicklas Hagelin and Carl Hagelin are expected in a top-four role, and if Hagelin has any issues staying on the ice, it could put pressure on him.
Nick was great in the playoffs last year and he should continue to be, but he needs to be better.
Carlson will also be expected as the team’s top goal scorer.
He had a great regular season, and he will be asked to do a little more.
If he can score goals, he will have an easy time.
The third line is probably the one to watch for.
Henrik Zetterberg, who has scored in every playoff game he’s been in, and Justin Williams, who was the MVP of the tournament last year are two of the best goal scorers in the league.
If Zetter is able to score a few goals, the Islanders can put pressure to their defense and put pressure upon the Capitals.
And then of course, the fourth line is going to need to have some help.
Alex Olegchuk and Kevin Shattenkirk are going against each other.
Oleg is a tough player, and Shatten is going up against the player who has been the Caps best offensive player the past two seasons.
If the Caps have any problems in front of the net, Shatten could be the guy that will help.
And finally, the last line is likely to give the Islanders the best chance to win.
Alexei Emelin and Mikhail Grabovski will be a matchup of the two best goal scoring lines in the NHL.
Grabov is going against the best defensemen in the League, and Emelin is going on a playoff run.
Both are big, skilled players, and both are capable of scoring.
Grabo has some speed, but Emelin has the speed to make him pay.
Emelin will need some time to develop, but if he can stay healthy and play against a top defenseman, he should have a chance to make an impact.
If Grabov struggles in the series, the line of Nicklas Jensen and Justin Faulk could be a very effective line.
The Pens might also look to play their top line in a back-to-back.
That could be an option, because they might need to go in a different direction if they have any doubts.
The Penguins and Capitals will both be looking to get back to the Stanley Cup Final, and the Islanders will need their top lines to be as good as they were last year.