The Capitals are 1-4-1.  They’re in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, 7 standings points behind the Southeast Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning.

I’m not panicking.

Despite how desperate the standings look, the Capitals are actually playing darn good hockey right now according to their underlying numbers. Let’s take a look at those together and then have a warm glass of milk.

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I Don’t Hate Jeff Halpern

Jeff Halpern

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

Fan-favorite Jeff Halpern, who captained the Washington Capitals during the 2005-06 season, was signed this offseason to a one-year deal for $825,000.

Last year Halpern logged the second-most shorthanded minutes (2:20) per-game among Montreal’s forwards and also finished second on the team in faceoff percentage (56.9%). His 11 goals and 26 points were his most since the lockout ended, and he is expected to center the fourth line and see time on the penalty kill.

“He got 26 points last year, which is more than we got out of that position last year,” General Manager George McPhee said when Washington signed Halpern in July. “We want players to be able to fulfill certain roles but also generate offense.”

At the risk of being sacrilegious I am here to say, please, keep your expectations low. Very low.

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PDO and Why The Caps May Be Struggling

Alex Ovechkin, inches away from a potential goal against New Jersey. (Photo credit: Clydeorama)

I know there are some out there that don’t put much faith in statistics and feel it is a small step up from voodoo, but when a metric like PDO is an incredibly strong predictive tool for individual players, it deserves some notice.

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