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It was a magical postseason run for the Capitals. After a bit of struggle in the early part of last season, the Capitals recovered and later went on the best postseason run in franchise history.
While the Capitals had a great Stanley Cup run, there were areas of their game that they struggled with in 2017-18. There are areas in their game that they can improve on in 2018-19.
Let’s dive in to some of the tactical improvements the Capitals can try to make as the new season approaches:
SHOOTING THE PUCK
The Capitals struggled mightily in this area of their game last season. The Capitals averaged 29 shots per game, which was ranked 31st in the NHL.
Pittsburgh and Florida led the NHL in shots on goal per game. Both clubs averaged 34.4 shots per game. There were several games during the regular season where the Capitals went periods with 5 shots or less.
The Capitals were a bit selective in their shots last season, so it would be a welcome change to see them shoot the puck a little more. If they shoot the puck a little bit more, it will help their chances on getting the weird puck bounces near the net.
The Capitals were in the upper tier of penalty minutes last season. The Capitals averaged 9.9 penalty minutes per game, which is 7th most in the NHL. The amount of penalties taken is something that needs to be fixed. The Capitals committed 294 minor penalties in 2017-18, which was 7th most in the NHL. If the Capitals can limit their penalties taken, it will help their 5-on-5 play and their special teams play.
It wasn’t the best regular season performance for Braden Holtby in 2017-18, but he made up for it in 2018 postseason. Holtby finished the 2017-18 regular season with 34 wins, a 2.99 goals against average, and .907 save percentage. With Philipp Grubauer no longer sitting beside Holtby, Holtby must improve his play during the regular season in order for the Capitals to remain in the playoff picture.
It was a bit of a sore spot for the Capitals last year. The Capitals penalty kill struggled at times, as it finished at 80.3% effectiveness in the regular season. It was ranked 15th in the NHL.
Special teams are key to winning games, and the Capitals have usually performed well in this area over the last few years.
By: George Foussekis