Geoff Burke/USA TODAY
Happy New Year! The Washington Capitals have a busy schedule to begin 2017. Over the next 15 days, the Capitals will play 8 games against some of the NHL’s best clubs. To begin this difficult 2-week stretch in 2017, the Capitals will start out with a short 3-game home-stand. Tonight, the home-stand begins against their rivals north of the border, Ottawa Senators. Puck drop is at 7:30 PM.
The Senators are an improved club under new Head Coach Guy Boucher. They have clawed back into the playoff picture, and currently sit within striking distance of Montreal.
Behind the Senators success this season is their two netminders. Craig Anderson and Mike Condon have given the Senators quality goaltending this year. For a team like Ottawa that tends to play in a lot of close games, getting good goaltending is very important.
On the blueline, 2-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson leads the Senators in points. He has 7 goals and 32 points in 36 games this year, so he is close to being a point-per game player.
The Senators fire 28.9 shots on goal, which is ranked 21st in the NHL. They give up 30.5 shots per game, which is 11th most in the NHL.
Ottawa’s powerplay conversion is 16.5%, which is ranked 19th in the NHL. Their penalty kill is solid at 82.3% conversion, which is ranked 13th in the NHL.
The Capitals just finished up a home-and-home series with the New Jersey Devils. Yesterday, the Capitals defeated the Devils 6-2, in a game that was full of penalties. The Capitals exploded in the 2nd period, as they pulled away with 3 goals in the frame.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 31, 2016
The Capitals are hanging on to a Wild Card position, as teams like Columbus and Pittsburgh have pulled away from the rest of the Metropolitan Division pack.
To get back on track in 2017, the Capitals will need more secondary scoring. Evgeny Kuznetsov is a player the Capitals need to get more production from. Kuzya has just 3 goals in 34 games this year.
The Capitals are shooting an average of 30.8 shots per game, which is ranked 8th in the NHL. The Capitals are one of the NHL’s stingiest teams when it comes to shots against. They only give up 28.3 shots per game, which is 6th fewest in the league.
The Capitals powerplay has been floating in the middle of the pack. The Capitals powerplay has a 17.6% conversion, which is ranked 16th in the NHL. The Capitals penalty kill has been a bright spot for them this year. The penalty kill has a 85.8% conversion, which is 4th best in the NHL.
METROPOLITAN DIVISION STANDINGS
This is the first of 3 meetings between the Capitals and Senators this season. They will see each other again in less than one week when the Capitals travel to Ottawa. They will close the season series against Ottawa on January 24.
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) December 31, 2016
By: George Foussekis