[Ed Note: With Peter galavanting in the middle of California for a wedding and Ian scrambling to keep up with all of the Barack The Red happenings, we're not going to have a gamer tonight covering the Lightning's 3-2 victory. Who wants to read more about that anyways? Not I. So tonight, we bring you something that has become a growing concern for the crew here at RMNB: the Capitals below average Penalty Kill. Will this do them in when the games really matter? What do you think? Read Neil's article and let us know in the comments below.]
To misquote Yogi Berra, “95% of hockey is half defense.” Or more precisely, 58.3% defense according to Alan Ryder.
Now whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but what we do know is that goaltending is not the issue for the Caps going into the playoffs – it is their Penalty Killing (PK).
If we look at the teams that won The Cup since the 1979-80 season a distinct pattern emerges:
It is difficult to win The Cup with a PK % of less than 80%. Currently, the Washington Capitals are at 78.49%. And as @DCCheapSeats correctly points out, it is coming on less chances per game than in the last four years.
Teams that won The Cup with Sub-80% PK since 1979-80 also have something else in common – they are all two-year dynasties:
- ’80 & ’81 NYI
- ’85 EDM (and they repeated in ’86)
- ’91 & ’92 PIT
As we look deeper it is evident they were not bad PK teams when compared to the league average:
1985 EDM was also above league average (78.47% vs 77.80%)
As for the 2009-10 Washington Capitals, they are at 78.49% when the League Average looms at a hefty 81.36% – clearly inferior to the league average and enough to be the real cause for concern heading into the playoffs.