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The Washington Capitals have never really been a top-tier team when it comes to faceoffs. With the relatively recent departures of players like Joel Ward, Eric Fehr, Troy Brouwer and Jason Chimera, the Capitals were seemingly facing a sizeable shortcoming in their faceoff game. Wrong.
The Capitals are currently 4th in the league in faceoff winning percentage, the highest ranking for the team in a number of years. The current faceoff rankings for league, through last nights games:
One of the reasons for this high ranking is the vastly improved stats for faceoff mainstays such as Justin Williams, Jay Beagle and Nicklas Backstrom. Through the first 11 games, the Capitals faceoff trio is, on average, 10 percentage points (+/-) better than last seasons averages. A good start, to say the least.
Strength-of-Schedule: The Capitals strength of schedule has been relatively weak to this point. The Capitals have only faced three teams with winning records so far this season, and lost to all three teams (Pittsburgh, Edmonton and New York Rangers).
TJ Oshie – TJ Oshie has continued to raise the level of his faceoff game. When TJ arrived in Washington, Coach Trotz stated he spoke to Oshie about raising his faceoff game in order to help back-fill the void created by the aforementioned player departures. Oshie has done just that.
Complete faceoff stats: Here
By Jon Sorensen