Thursday, February 7, 2013

What is Wrong With the Caps?

Ten games into the lockout shortened season, Washington only has five points, which is dead last in the league standings.  The Capitals have made the playoffs the last five seasons, with four division titles and even the best record in the league just three seasons ago. What happened? Why is DC in the basement with the season already a fifth of the way over?

  • Well, you cannot win if you do not score. In the past five seasons the Caps scored an average of 3.1 goals a game, no lower than 2.7, while this season Washington is only scoring 2.3 a game. 
  • You also cannot win if you give up a lot of goals either. In the past five seasons the Capitals gave up an average of 2.7 goals a game, no higher than 2.9, while this season DC is letting in 3.6 a game. 
  • To go along with that, you need to have a good goalie to win as well. In their playoff seasons the Caps goalies had a 90.9 save percentage, while this season it has slipped to 88%, which is fourth worst in the league.
  • The losses cannot be blamed solely on the goalies though. Through ten games, Washington’s defense has already given up 47 power play opportunities and 12 power play goals, both of which are second worst in the NHL. Additionally, the 1.2 and 4.7 per game averages are higher than the five year averages of .7 and 3.8.   
  • Maybe Capitals fans blame the losses on the refs, complaining they are not getting equal extra man opportunities.  However, DC’s 8 power play goals on 40 opportunities for a 20% success rate rank in the  middle of the league this season, and are similar averages to their playoff seasons. 
  • It certainly does not help that the Caps' best players have not produced to their caliber yet either. All-Star center Nicklas Backstrom only has 8 points, which is tied for 44th in the NHL, while face-of-the-franchise Ovechkin’s 5 points are tied for 123rd. Alex’s .5 points a game are well below his 1.2 five year average and Backstrom’s .8 would be the lowest in his career as well.

What’s next? Departed players/coaches Alexander Semin, Bruce Boudreau, and Dale Hunter do not seem to be the problems this time……

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