At 9-3-0, the Washington Capitals are off to their hottest start in franchise history. They’ve got their most complete lineup since the 90s, they’ve got Alex Ovechkin, they’ve got the new young guns, and they’ve got a Holtbeast. They look positively stellar.
Glancing at Washington’s schedule through Thanksgiving, it becomes clear that now is the time for the Caps to dominate.
|Team||Adjusted Possession||Standings Rank|
Between today and turkey day, the Caps will face only two teams with a positive 5v5 shot-attempt differential (when weighted by score situation). Most of those teams are in the league’s bottom five. One of them could be as bad as the Sabres were last season, except without deliberately tanking.
Then again, these are still the numbers of a very young season. Any or all of these teams might not be well described by the data so far. Any or all of them could get better. But none of that changes the fact that now is Washington’s moment.
Alex Ovechkin’s on pace for 50 goals. Braden Holtby is still warming up. The team is averaging more than three goals a game. The power play is getting the rust off. Veterans like Orpik and Chimera are keeping the team grounded while young players like Kuznetsov, Burakovsky, and Schmidt are letting them soar. They’re healthy (touch wood).
The Caps can’t win every game between now and Thanksgiving. They just can’t. At some point there’s gonna be a hot goalie, or a trap game, or a bunch of bad bounces. But this team right now is good enough to do Very Big Things. Their goal should be simple.
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