The Washington Capitals are perennial favorites to win the Stanley Cup, despite never actually winning the Cup. This year was no different and so far, so good. Washington is off to an 8-2 start, matching the best start in franchise history, doing so twice; once to start the 2011-12 season and once to start the 1991-92 season.
The Caps have registered 16 points in the first 10 games, which puts them in first place in the Metropolitan Division and second in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Montreal Canadians by six points.
Washington has scored 34 goals in the first 10 games while giving up 23. After October, they ranked 2nd in NHL in shots-per-game (25.5), 4th in goals-per-game (3.4) 5th in power play percentage (24.1) and 6th in penalty kill percentage (87.9). The Caps are 4-2-0 at home and are 4-0-0 both on the road and in back-to-back games. Washington has won two in a row after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets (at home) 2-1 on Friday and the Florida Panthers (on the road) 2-1 in overtime on Saturday.
Evgeny Kuznetsov leads the team in points with 13, scoring five goals and dishing out eight assists. The 23-year old was the one who gave the Caps the overtime victory in Florida over the weekend. Alex Ovechkin is second on the team in points with 12 (5 G, 7 A) and recorded his 900th career NHL point in a 6-2 rout of the Calgary Flames. He is four goals away from passing Sergei Fedorov (483) for most goals scored by a Russian-born player. He scored a goal in five-straight games from October 10-October 22, the longest such streak in the NHL this season. Defenseman John Carlson also has double-digit points with 10 (2 G, 8 A) and is one point away from his 200th career point. Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom all have eight points. Speaking of Backstrom, he is one goal away from passing Kevin Hatcher for 13th on the Capitals’ franchise goal scoring list.
The goaltending has been stellar, led by Braden Holtby who is 6-2-0 with a 1.90 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Only Carey Price of the Montreal Canadians and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild have more wins, both having seven.
Next up for the Caps is a showdown with the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden for the top spot in the division tonight (Nov. 3). New York enters the contest with a 7-2-2 record and 16 points, which is tied with Washington. The winner will be in sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan. After that, Washington will host the Boston Bruins (Nov. 5) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (Nov. 7) before heading to Detroit (Nov. 10) and Philadelphia (Nov. 12).
The Capitals are off to a good start and will look to build off a hot first month of the season.