The Spencer Carbery Era in Washington did not begin good. In fact, it was “the worst scripted start we possibly could have had,” said the man in charge.
The Capitals started the 2023-24 season 1-3-1, placing them dead last in the Metropolitan Division. They were out-scored at five-on-five play 11 to 4, which was the worst goals-finished percentage (26.67) in the entire NHL. The stats were ugly – you can see them all here – but things have turned for the better since.
The Caps are 6-1-1 in their last 8 games, good for an .813 point percentage. This has the Capitals sitting in third in the Metropolitan Division, trailing only the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes.
Excuse me while I put on my cool shades. 😎
The Caps dug themselves out of their early season hole by taking advantage of a long home stretch and beating up on weaker competition. This is how the Capitals have fared since October 25th.
October 25 at New Jersey – 6-4 win
October 27 vs Minnesota – 3-2 (SO) win
October 29 vs San Jose – 3-1 win
November 2 vs Islanders – 3-0 loss
November 4 vs Columbus – 2-1 win
November 8 vs Florida – 4-3 (OT) loss
November 10 at New Jersey – 4-2 win
November 11 at Islanders – 4-1 win
The Capitals gained 7 out of a possible 10 standings points during their season-long, five-game homestand from October 27 through November 8, suffering only one regulation loss during that stretch. The Capitals also beat New Jersey — a team who had the league’s third best record last season — twice during that span. Their most recent feat was winning their recent back-to-back, a feat that is difficult for teams that have older legs.
If the playoffs started after all games were completely on November 11, the Capitals would make the playoffs and they wouldn’t even need the wild card to get in. They would be the third seed in the Metro and play the second-seeded Hurricanes.
The Caps currently have the seventh-most standings points in the Eastern Conference, sitting two points behind fourth-place Detroit Red Wings.
It’s unclear how good this Capitals team is, but their PDO at all strengths is 0.983 (anything under 1.00 is usually considered unlucky) and they’ve scored 14.8 goals fewer than expected.
Goals Scored Above Expected – November 12 pic.twitter.com/EymRxt5Tyu
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) November 12, 2023
Other (perhaps) unlucky stats include TJ Oshie going goalless and Alex Ovechkin not scoring in 10 of 13 games (Ovechkin’s shooting percentage is 7.5 – his career average is 12.9). The team’s only scored three times on the power play and the Caps have the third-worst power-play percentage in the league at 7.9 percent.
Spencer Carbery, whiz-kid head coach, has the Capitals playing some good hockey and there’s clear room for improvement, too. Let’s just hope they can keep it going.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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