Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The Caps' power play has been a big reason why they lead the series.
Once again I give the New York Rangers credit. They have done a pretty good job at keeping the Washington Capitals' power play in check.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, though, pretty good has, thus far, not been good enough.
During the regular season, the Caps' power play was the most lethal in the NHL connecting 26.9 percent of the time. Whether the Rangers could contain that power play was a key factor as to how the series would go.
So far, the Rangers have done a pretty good job. The Caps' power play conversion rate is down to 21.4 percent for the playoffs, which has them ranked seventh among the 16 playoff teams. That's not too bad, but it is not great either.
The problem for the Rangers is the timing of those power-play goals. The Caps have three power-play goals in this series, all of them on home ice and all of them being back-breakers for the Rangers.
In Game 1, Alexander Ovechkin's only goal of the series was of the power-play variety and it tied the game up at a crucial juncture.
In Game 2, Mike Green's overtime power-play goal was, obviously, the game winner.
In Game 5, Joel Ward's power-play tally tied the game and changed the momentum of Game 5 completely around.
Still, the Rangers have yet to yield a power-play goal at Madison Square Garden, and that has to make them feel better about their chances on Sunday.
What is somewhat surprising, though, is how good the Caps' penalty kill has been in this series. During the regular season, the Caps' PK ranked 27th in the NHL with a 77.9-percent kill rate. By comparison, the Rangers were ranked 15th with an 81.1 percent kill rate.
But in this series, the Caps' PK has actually been much better than the Rangers. Shockingly, the Caps have the second best penalty kill among the 16 playoff teams with a 90.5-percent kill rate. The Rangers are ranked 10th with a 78.6-percent kill rate.
When you add all this up, it is not hard to figure out why the Caps have the 3-2 series lead. The power play has been slowed, somewhat, but is still scoring goals when the Caps need them most.
On top of that, the penalty kill is doing surprisingly well and stymieing the Rangers' power play far more often than not.
If the Caps can continue to win the special teams battle, their chances to ultimately win this series increase exponentially.