We’re about midway through the first half of the NHL season. The Capitals are currently 2nd place in the metropolitan division. The caps have played a total of 37 games. In those 37 games they have posted a 19-14-4 record, a total of 42 standings points. It’s hard to say whether or not the Capitals will make the playoffs come this April.
The Capitals seem very inconsistent this year, with amazing back to back comeback wins to back to back blowing 2 goal leads. Where’s the consistency? It often seems like the defense just gives the opposition shooting lanes sometimes. And what’s up with allowing a goal against right after we score? The Capitals are an interesting team this year. Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals, wrote in his blog “In each game (Devils/Ducks) – we had a 2 goal lead, but couldn’t hang on. We seem to play better and more determined hockey when we face a deficit and have to come from behind.”
So is that a problem? Is it bad that the Capitals play better when down? Can we rely on that type of mentality and play to lead us to the Stanley Cup? Adam Oates has a lot of work to do. With line parings, maybe new forechecking schemes, and teaching this Caps team to play for a full 60 minuets. With all that said we decided to grade the Capitals on each position and line parings thus far in the season.
Goaltending is going well for the Capitals right now. Braden Holtby is 13-10-2 with a .915 SV%. His counter part, Philipp Grubauer. Who came up from Hershey has played lights out in all 6 oh his starts. He is 4-1-1 with a .934 SV%. Michael Neuvirth has only seen 6 starts this season. he is 2-3-1 with a .912 SV%
Our centers have been amazing to watch this season. The centers have tallied 81 total points. Nicklas Backstrom with more than half of them, 42, has been an assist machine. Nick has a way of putting the puck exactly where it has to be. He also has tallied 14 points in the last 5 games. Also, former Maple Leaf Mikhail Grabovksi has been outstanding as well. Grabovski has a way about himself. Grabo makes plays happen. That’s pretty much the theme for these centers this season, they make things happen.
Right Wing : A+
Alex Ovechkin is revitalized. Alex has 30 goals in his last 32 games. He is on pace for almost 80 goals this season. He currently is the league’s top goal scorer. But Ovechkin isn’t the only right-winger who is revitalized. Eric Fehr’s new play style is upbeat and fast tempo. He never stops skating until his shift is over. He currently has 5 goals and 10 assists. It’s fehr to say we’re glad he’s on our team. Wardo just keeps coming in clutch. He recently recorded his first hat trick against the Flyers in the game we like to call the “Philly beat down”.
(Photo from RMNB; Alex Ovechkin celebrates his tying goal, which was also his third of the night)
Left wing: B
It’s hard to grade the LWingers. Jason Chimera started the season off red-hot. He recorded a 4 game point streak. He has 7 goals and 12 assists for a total of 19 points. Marcus Johansson has 5 goals and 20 assists for a total of 25 points. But Mojo doesn’t shoot the puck when he should, that’s a major problem. Getting the puck to the net is crucial and the Caps struggle with that. Mojo more times than not will make a pass to many instead of shooting it to the net.
Our defense is just not the same this year. Mike Green is a huge factor to why they were given a C. Green is a two-way defense men. But he cannot score this year. Recording his first goal about a month ago Green only has 2 goals and 16 assists for a total of 18 points. But it’s not only him. Breakaways continuously happen against this capitals defense. Maybe playing to aggressively and to soft this defense has allowed goals against right after the caps score multiple times this year. Each defense man is a negative in their +/- ratings besides Steven Oleksy and Alex Urbom.
One word to describe the lines this season:
Line 1: Clutch
Line 2: Mediocre
Line 3: Grinders
Line 4: Tough
The Capitals have given up games they shouldn’t have. And that’s why we don’t have as many standings points as we do. I don’t see the Capitals catching up to the Penguins but I would be surprised to see this team not make it to the playoffs. What do you think of our ratings, do you think their too high or too low?