Unlike recent years, injuries have begun to plague the Capitals this season. It’s been a little more than three weeks since the season started and the Capitals have played 10 games. Through those 10 games, the Capitals have already placed defenseman Matt Niskanen, forward Andre Burakovsky, and center Tyler Graovac on injured reserve. In addition to those, centers Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller have each missed one game due to illness.
Last season, the Capitals had an NHL-low 48 man games lost due to injury. The next lowest was the Calgary Flames, who had 72 man games lost. Two seasons ago, the Capitals were near the bottom with only 127 man games lost. Only the New York Rangers (97) and Chicago Blackhawks (122) had fewer man games lost than the Capitals.
Through the first 10 games this season, the Capitals have 10 man-games lost. In addition to the injuries mentioned above, forward Brett Connolly is expected to miss tonight’s tilt against the Edmonton Oilers and could potentially miss tomorrow’s game against the Flames.
So far this season, the Capitals have recalled defenseman Madison Bowey, center Chandler Stephenson, and forward Anthony Peluso from the Hershey Bears because of injuries, the most call-ups they have had in a long time.
Dealing with Adversity
Despite having injuries now, that could be good for the Capitals because they will have to battle through more adversity than in the past. Last year, the Pittsburgh Penguins had the seventh most man games lost and were without their best defenseman, Kris Letang, for the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs and won the Stanley Cup last year.
Two seasons ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning had 294 man games lost and went on to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. In addition to that, they were without their captain and star center Steven Stamkos the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs until Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. The team that won the Stanley Cup, the Penguins, had the ninth most of 321 man games lost.
Injuries may be hitting the Capitals now, and are a big factor In their early season record (4-5-1) but it could help them later on.
The Capitals are only one point behind the Boston Bruins, who currently occupy the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Injuries could be challenging the Caps now, but looking at what other teams like the Lightning and Penguins have been through in the past couple of years, it could help the Capitals down the road.
The Capitals take on the Edmonton Oilers at 10 PM at Rogers Place in Edmonton tonight in their middle match of a three-game Western Canada road swing.
By Harrison Brown