While the Capitals have gotten off to a slow start to the 2013-2014 season as a team, captain Alexander Ovechkin is playing exceptionally well in the beginning stages of the year.
While Ovechkin has played a great few games of hockey this year, his team has been mediocre at best. While the Caps have the 5th best power play in the league, taking advantage of nearly 25% of their PP opportunities and killing off 90.7% of their opponents’ (2nd), that is all they have to say for themselves.
They are giving up 3.2 goals per game (26th in the league), and scoring only 2.7 goals per game (17th). As we have seen in the past few years, this team is better than their stats, but they have failed to put it all together. As of Thursday, October 31, the Caps are 5-7-0 and are six points back of Pittsburgh for the lead in the Metropolitan division.
Because the NHL expanded their divisions, it will be much harder for the Capitals to earn home ice advantage in the playoffs this year (that is, if they even make it that far).
The Capitals now have to compete with the Rangers, Penguins, Devils, and Flyers for a home playoff spot instead of battling with only the Lightning in past years. While the road ahead may seem tough, the Capitals have a good enough team to finish at the top of their division, and hopefully the NHL.
They have the offense, defense and goaltending to compete and defeat the best teams in the NHL, but the issue will be: will they actually do it?