Halfway

The Capitals’ 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins was their 41st game of the season. The halfway point.

Let’s take a quick moment, without any pomp or heavy opinions (except GIFs), to appreciate where the Caps are right now.


Overall Record

Overall: 22-17-2
Home: 15-5-1
Road: 7-12-1
Standings points: 46

The Capitals currently sit 8th in the Eastern Conference, essentially tied with Pittsburgh.

They are second in Southeast Division, one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and four behind the Florida Panthers. The bright side is that the Caps have played one game fewer than those teams. Still, the Caps are battling for standing in the division that used to be their feeding ground.

As Neil Greenberg pointed out on the Post Tuesday, the Caps’ home record is 5th best in the league. Their road record is 24th.


Special Teams

Power Play: 19.0% (8th)
Home: 23.9% (2nd) ; Road: 13.6% (25th)
Penalty Kill: 82.1% (19th)
Home:  90.2% (2nd); Road: 76.0% (25th)

When they hit the road, the Caps fall 23 spots in special teams ranking. They are elite in Verizon Center when cheered on by you. They are meek anywhere else.

And don’t let the ranking of the overall PK scare you; this is a very dense field. Only 3% separates the Capitals from 8th place. One bad night can send a team down several spots. Boston, in their infinite awesomeness, leads the NHL with a PK north of 91%.


Remaining Schedule

Home games: 20
Road games: 21
Games vs playoff teams: 22

The Caps do not have an easy finish. They’ll be running into clusters of tough games– on the road. There’s a bunch against Division leaders like Florida, Boston, and New York, plus a back-to-back with Detroit and Chicago after St. Patrick’s Day.


Goals

Goals for: 119 (9th)
Goals against: 120 (16th)
Differential:  minus-1

Before shutting out Pittsburgh, the Caps’ 120 goals against had earned them 23rd place ranking. By plugging up their leaky net for one night, the Caps jumped up six spots in a dense field. On the other end of the ice, Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, and Troy Brouwer own 41 of the Caps’ goals, or about 35% of their output.


Puck Possession

Close Fenwick: 51.02% (9th)
Fenwick Down 2: 51.95% (26th)
Fenwick Up 2: 35.32% (29th) 

These percentages represent the sum of non-blocked pucks directed at the net. When the score is close, the Capitals have a modest tilt in their favor. But when the Capitals are down, they just aren’t shooting enough to change the course of the game. When the Capitals have a good lead, they sit back more than almost any other team in the league (Minnesota’s trap is 30th). [Source: Behindthenet.ca]


Alex Ovechkin

Goals:  17 (17th)
Assists:  16 (96th)
SC diff: plus-16

Alex Ovechkin has a tough path ahead of him to hit 30 goals. Those who expected him to hit 50 were quixotic, but those who expected him to hit 30 have a right to be disappointed. [Source: Neil Greenberg, 1/5/2012]


Dmitry Orlov

Games: 23
Cume shots: 14
Goals: 0
SC diff: minus-10

Dmitry Orlov is a very, very young player. He’s styled as a Mike Green-type defenseman, but he hasn’t shot enough to prove it yet. He’s got time. [Source: Neil Greenberg, 1/5/2012]


Alex Semin

Major penalties: 0
Goals: 10
Contract: $6.7 M 

Semin has not committed a major penalty, but he is only five penalty minutes behind the team PIM leader/tough guy, Matt Hendricks. He is on track for 20 goals (assuming he stays healthy), which would lead to a payment of about $335,000 a goal.


Mike Green

Games, this season: 10
Games, last season: 49
Games, 2 seasons ago: 75 

It’s easy to convince someone that Mike Green is a great hockey player, as long as you first convince them that he actually is a hockey player. We all wish Mike the best, but knowing that upon his return he will be immediately targeted for hits is worrying.


Carlzner

It’s hard to bundle up a stat to tell the story of John Carlson and Karl Alzner. They began the season as team’s best defensive pairing, but have become liabilities recently. Neil does a good job telling the story with this chart, plotting the pair’s precipitous decline.


Tomas Vokoun

Goals Against: 69
Save %: .915 

Vokoun is recovering his goalie stardom, now floating just .02 under his lifetime average save percentage. And yes, the goals against count was included just to use this Paramore gif.


There are 41 games and 82 points remaining in this season. The playoffs are possible, but not certain. Given the team’s woeful performance away from D.C., will George McPhee hazard the road with his current roster? Or are the Washington Capitals about to undergo their largest upheaval since the lockout?

Careers are on the line.

That surfing Pikachu image is from brotherbrain.

  • sean

    I have been saying that we are weak down the middle and on defense since BB became coach.  With NB out indefinitely a deep run in the playoffs is a pipe-dream.  We will be lucky to hold on to a 7-8 seed.  We played our hand with this roster and we got to the 2nd round once, time to move on with most of these guys.

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  • Peter

    Yeah, I didn’t want the main post to be apocalyptic, but I think we’re looking at a major restructuring — probably BEFORE the deadline– and it’ll be a mortal challenge to McPhee’s career.

  • Peter Robbio

    Loved the posts Wednesday night.  Great work.

    Also, don’t think I didn’t notice one of you guys being the third man in the scrum
    on Twitter.  WOW.  Next shift I might have to
    run ya.
    Peter

  • Yk

    The main restructuring probably will happen after consecutive Boston Bruins games in VC which would be super-measuring stick games for Caps. If BB will do to Caps their usual spanking of suspected eastern pretenders/contenders (see recent Flyers 6:0 and Panthers 8:0) than Caps would be done. It would be good opportunity to hear what owner Ted thinking about Caps and their chances, exactly before the Bruins game on Jan 24. The game could be final eye-opening for him and others or less probable propel Caps to the real contenders.

  • Peter

    I wasn’t giving you trouble, honest.

  • Probbio

    Oh no worries. Just havingp some fun. Loved the posts.

  • Isobelmoo

    It better be a big upheaval given how long people have been expecting trades to happen.  But what does it matter?  Even if they go for a rebuild, at this point Kuznetsov could easily prove another Ovechkin; he’s done nothing to indicate he won’t be.

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