The Washington Capitals continue to roll. After a slight sputter coming out of the bye week, the guys in red have won five or their last six and a franchise-record 15 straight at home. This is the best team in the NHL.
But, things could slow down at some point. Back in January, Peter asked if the Caps are lucky or if they’re good. He correctly concluded that they are both lucky and good. To say that there’s some luck baked into the Caps results isn’t a slight. While getting lucky is often associated with bad teams, good teams are lucky just as often as bad ones. In fact, it takes a whole lot of luck to be the last team standing in June.
Just how lucky has this Caps team been? Well, the difference between the Caps goals for percentage and expected goals for percentage is the biggest of any team for a single season since 2007. By a mile. Here’s a look at the top 30.
I cut out the individual season markers to make the graph less cramped. That’s the 2016-17 Caps in first and the 2009-10 team in fourth.
The good news, even if the Caps’ luck turns, is that their underlying numbers tell us they’re still one of the top teams in the league. But the Caps shouldn’t merely count on their underlying numbers mitigating the effects of a slump, they should be looking for ways to continuously improve the process that results in those strong underlying numbers. The Caps should be looking to maximize every part of their roster so, if the hockey gods stop smiling on them, the fall is as soft and padded as possible.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the numbers.
All stats from Corsica unless otherwise noted or linked
Headline image: Rob Carr
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