In the playoffs last season, Washington faced the #8 seed in the first round – the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs gave them a run for their money and were actually winning the series at one point. Ultimately, Washington got it together and finished the Leafs off in Game 6.
Point being, the Capitals didn’t look like a team that finished at the top of the league standings. This is a trend for them. The playoffs have been their enemy.
Alex Ovechkin – He’s one of the top 100 players in NHL history and with good reason. He’s scored over 50 goals, 7 times in his career, and he’s never scored less than 32 in a season. The Stanley Cup has eluded him and you could tell that bothers him. He’s tried to change his game the last few seasons in hopes of taking his team further, but Crosby and the Penguins have been too much for them.
Nicklas Backstrom – He’s one of the elite passers in the game, with 7 seasons of 50 assists or more. It doesn’t hurt that he plays with Ovechkin. Backstrom wins 51% of his face-offs.
T.J Oshie – Oshie is a solid secondary scoring option, who constantly puts up between 50-60 points each season.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – During the 2015-16 season, he accumulated 77 points. Last season, he dropped to 59. With 26 points in 23 games so far this season, he looks to be back on track for another point-per-game season.
Notable: Jakub Vrana, Lars Eller, Andre Burakovsky
John Carlson – He’s a guy who will hover around 40 points, while spending time on both the power play and penalty kill. Valuable player to have.
Matt Niskanen – If I say “Same as Carlson” would that be fine? Niskanen does a lot of the same things.
Notable: Brooks Orpik, Dmitri Orlov
Braden Holtby – He is a big reason – if not THE reason – why the Capitals allowed the fewest goals in the NHL last season – 182. He’s one of the best goalies in the league and will be a huge part of this team’s success.
Philipp Grubauer – Solid backup goalie. Could probably be a starter on some teams. Always good for a spot start in fantasy leagues. He hasn’t gotten off to a great start this season, but I think he’ll be okay.
1. The team mascot is named Slapshot. I’m unimpressed. That is Grade 1 Level creativity. Might as well just name it “Puck Face”.
2. The Capitals have eclipsed 100 points in a season, 6 times since the 2008-09 season.
3. Despite their regular season dominance, they haven’t made it to a Conference Final since 1998.
4. They play out of Capital One Arena. Andrea Bocelli has a concert there on December 10th, so get your tickets now!
WHAT CHRIS THINKS
Washington really does need to win now; Ovechkin is 32 and not getting any younger. I could see him playing until his 40s, but with Holtby and Backstrom the time is now to go all in. I don’t know what it is about Washington, they are always good, and have two huge stars in Ovi and Backstrom, and a good goalie in Holtby but I never view them as serious threats. Their recent history – repeated failures in 1st/2nd rounds probably plays a role.
LAST MINUTE OF PLAY
The Capitals will make the playoffs again and likely fall short of a Stanley Cup appearance again because that’s just what they do. I feel a bit bad for them considering the superstar level talent they have, but they just can’t seem to ever put it all together.
Maybe they need to acquire a few more forwards who have gone deep in the playoffs. I don’t know.
ONE WILD PREDICTION
The Capitals will lose their first round playoff matchup this season.
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