The Washington Capitals had the best October in franchise history as they went 9-2-3 despite having one of the toughest schedules in the league with a league-high 14 games, nine of which came on the road (tied for a league-high). NoVa Caps takes a look at how the team performed during their historic month.
Their average of 3.79 goals-per-game at the end of the month is third in the NHL but their 53 goals are four ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for first. Despite allowing just six goals in their first three games of October, their average of 3.29 goals-against per game is the 12th-highest in the league. The team’s .907 save percentage is the ninth-worst in the NHL.
The special teams have also been impressive. Their 25.5% power-play and 85.2% penalty killing efficiencies are both seventh-best in the league. The Capitals ranked first in the NHL in shots against per game on October 18 at 27.8 but are currently tied for 14th with the Calgary Flames with an average of 31.
As usual, the Capitals were not a high volume shooting team as their average of 30.5 shots-per-game tied the Chicago Blackhawks for 20th.
Sacrificing the body has clearly been on blocking shots in the Capitals’ dressing room as their 218 blocked shots lead the NHL.
The Capitals were dominant in the second period as they outscored opponents by a 23-10 margin though they were outscored 15-12 in the first and 18-16 in the third.
In addition to team performance, defenseman John Carlson broke record after record in October as he set a franchise record for the most points in a single month by a defenseman (23). He is currently second in the NHL in points and only one behind Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak for the lead.
Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan seems pleased with the start. He told the Athletic “Right off the hop we dealt with (Evgeny) Kuznetsov’s suspension, the (Michal) Kempny injury, when he’s coming back and when he’s not coming back, so we got through a couple of key things right away. We’ve had a tough schedule in October, a lot of road games (nine of 14 away from home), a lot of games. So I think going into it there were a lot of concerns that if we can get through this, we should be sitting pretty good. I think we’re pretty pleased with the things we’ve gotten through and the way we’ve played. We’ve tried to add a couple of things system-wise that make us more aggressive and make us play at a faster pace. We’ve probably been a little inconsistent in that, but overall it’s been good.”
By Harrison Brown