Sports

Capitals Create Solid Start

The Washington Capitals are on a solid five-game win streak to start the season. Sitting at third in the metropolitan division with a 6-1 record, the Capitals aim to continue their fine form.

Playing in a star-studded metropolitan division, the Capitals have taken the league by storm, accumulating 29 goals in just seven games¹. Left winger Alex Ovechkin, coming off a monster top scoring season last year (53, 30)², leads the team with five goals¹. He seems to be enjoying himself more on the ice as well, taking on defenders and orchestrating beautiful dekes.

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov has been solid per usual, starting every game and leading the team with 11 points (3, 8)¹. It certainly makes life easier playing with fellow Russian, Ovechkin. But the starting job isn’t his entirely.

A fan favorite, Nicklas Backstrom, is coming back from injury and has been tearing defenses apart in the process. Having played just four games this season, Backstrom has been on fire with seven points (4, 3)¹. Whether Backstrom or Kuznetsov continue to start, the team will be solid.

So far the Capitals have taken out multiple powerful teams, including last year’s Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Blackhawks. Part of the reason for this is the solid back line led by none other than Braden Holtby.

Holtby has been a solid net minder so far, allowing an average of 2.03 goals per game¹. His 144 saves is good enough for a .917 save percentage so far¹. He can thank the defenders in front of him for that.

The defensive line of Jay Carlson and Brooks Orpik have been producing both offensively and defensively. With a plus-minus of positive three, the pair has kept Holtby at bay with stopping shots. Not to mention, Carlson ties Kuznetsov with assists totaling eight.

That means the Capitals have done a significantly good job on the counter- stopping opponents and taking advantage of it. This well-rounded team looks to continue their fine form into the coming games.

The Caps play the Penguins, Blue Jackets, and Panthers in a total of four games. Not only will the Penguins game be a grueling rivalry battle, but their line depth will be tested. Third and fourth lines will need to step in when the first is tired.

Another factor of the success the Capitals have had is the power play team. It consists of Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johannson, TJ Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, and Jay Carlson³. The team rests second in the National Hockey League on power plays, going 7-28 so far.

Their counterparts, the penalty killing unit, haven’t been too shabby either. They rank 11th in the league, being successful 85% of the time and boasting a short handed goal according to espn.com.

If the Capitals continue their run of good form and luck, this can be their year. Their division is star-studded, but with last year’s leading scorer and the team only getting better, a Stanley Cup may come to Washington.

Update: The Capitals lost to the Penguins Wednesday, October 28th, 3-1.

¹ http://capitals.nhl.com/club/stats.htm

² http://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_2015_leaders.html

³ http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/team/_/stat/special-teams/sort/powerPlayPct

Penalty Killing unit stats- http://espn.go.com/nhl/statistics/team/_/stat/special-teams/sort/penaltyKillPct

 

 

Categories: Sports

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