Case in point: Back in October, ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose predicted that the Tampa Bay Lightning would defeat the Los Angeles Kings to win the Stanley Cup. Melrose got a do-over before the start of the postseason, and this time he picked the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals to advance to the Stanley Cup finals, where he predicted they would lose to the Blackhawks. After Nashville stunned Chicago with a first-round sweep, you might think that Washington, even coming off a more difficult than expected first-round series against Toronto, was Melrose’s new pick to win it all. “So, how are they to get past the Pens?” ESPN’s Dianna Russini asked Melrose during a “SportsCenter” segment Wednesday as the two previewed the Capitals-Penguins second-round series.
When the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins met in the second round of the playoffs last year, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held to only four combined points. That should be good enough to win, and yet it wasn’t for the Caps who had no answer for Pittsburgh’s scoring depth. This year, Washington expects things to be different. Why? Because of Lars Eller. The Caps will feature other new faces as well including Brett Connolly and Kevin Shattenkirk, but Connolly was a low-risk, high reward gamble and Shattenkirk was a deadline acquisition. Really the only move the Caps made to bolster their depth in direct response to last year's series loss was Eller. Washington traded two second-round
ST. LOUIS (AP) Nashville Predators forward Kevin Fiala broke his left leg during Game 1 against St. Louis and is recovering from surgery to repair his femur, the team said Thursday. The 20-year-old Fiala was hit by Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and went hard into the boards behind the St. Louis net at 1:46 of the second period Wednesday night. Nashville general manager David Poile said in a statement that Fiala had surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and will start rehabilitation when he returns to Nashville.