Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The month of March is nearly upon the Washington Capitals and with the arrival of March, comes the final playoff push. Often, March will come in like a lamb, but a hard-charging battering ram. In this piece, NoVa Caps examines how the Capitals have performed during the month of March during the “Rock the Red” era.
2007-08 – The Caps were in the midst of their push to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after sitting out of the playoffs every season (except 2005) since 2002. At the end of February, they were 30-27-8 and went 10-4 in 14 games in March for 20 points overall to improve their record to 40-31-8. They ended up winning their last four games of the month on a road trip in the southeast. Alex Ovechkin went on a goal-scoring tear (above) that month, scoring 12 goals on his way to a career-high 65 goals.
2008-09 – The Capitals had a comfortable lead in the Southeast Division and were second overall in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Boston Bruins with their record sitting at 40-18-5 at the end of February. The Caps went 6-5-2 in 13 games in March after starting the month off with four straight losses.
2009-10 – The Caps had a substantial lead in the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference and were headed towards winning the President’s Trophy. Their record was 41-13-8 going into the 2010 Winter Olympic Break, with hockey not resuming until March had begun. For March they compiled a record of 8-2-4 in 14 games, with seven of the games requiring overtime.
2010-11 – At the beginning of March, the Caps were battling it out for the Southeast Division lead with Tampa Bay and had a 33-20-10 record. The Philadelphia Flyers were 10 points ahead of the Caps. Other teams ahead of them for the Eastern Conference lead were the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins. The Caps compiled a record of 11-2-1 in 14 games. At the end of March, the Caps led Tampa Bay by six points for the Southeast Division lead and were three points behind the Flyers for the Eastern Conference lead and one point ahead of Pittsburgh. Their performance for the month of March made up for their long losing streak earlier in the season.
2011-12 – The Caps were 32-27-5 at the beginning of March, behind the Florida Panthers for the Southeast Division lead and were battling it out for a position in the playoffs. During March, the Caps were 7-5-3 in 15 games.
2012-13 – The season started late due to a lockout. At the end of February, they had a record of 7-11-1 after a terrible start to the season. For March, they compiled a 9-6-1 record in 16 games. This helped propel them into the playoffs.
2013-14 – The Caps ended February with a record of 28-23-9 in a season that had an Olympic break. During March, they compiled a record of 6-5-4 in 15 games. With a mediocre March, the Caps missed the playoffs entirely.
2014-15 – The Caps ended February with a record of 33-20-10 and were on a three-game losing streak. They were fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, eight points behind the New York Islanders but also behind the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. During March, they were 8-5-0 in 13 games which aided their push to the playoffs. They ultimately finished second in their division behind the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers.
2015-16 – The Caps ended February with a record of 45-12-4 and in first place in the NHL. They compiled a 9-4-2 record in 15 games in the month of March, resulting in the team winning the President’s Trophy.
2016-17 – The Caps ended February with a record of 41-13-7 and in first place in the NHL. They compiled a 9-4-1 record in 14 games in the month of March and won the President’s Trophy for the season
2017-18 — The Caps ended February with a record of 36-21-7 and in first place in the Metropolitan Division, compiling a 10-4-0 record in 14 games in the month of March. They ended up winning their division and going on to win the Stanley Cup.
2018-19 — The Caps ended February with a record of 36-21-7 and in second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Conclusion: The Caps have had strong performances in March for several years of their “Rock the Red” era. Notable strong performances included: 2007-08, 2009-10, 2012-03, 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18.
The table below shows the Caps performance in March for the Rock the Red era.
Statistics courtesy of NHL.Com and Hockey Reference.
By Diane Doyle