Looking At The Capitals’ Records vs. Teams Currently In 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff Position

Photo: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

With nearly one month until the 2021-22 NHL regular-season ends and first-round Stanley Cup Playoff matchups are set, NoVa Caps takes a look at the Washington Capitals’ record against teams currently in postseason position (in terms of points percentage, so the Vegas Golden Knights are excluded in place of the Dallas Stars).

Atlantic Division: 1-5-2

The Capitals’ lone win of the season against an Atlantic Division opponent came on November 26, when they defeated the division-leading Florida Panthers by a score of 4-2. However, they played the Panthers well the two times they visited Florida besides a third-period where they were outshot 27-2 and outscored 4-0 in a 5-4 loss on November 30.

That was the last time the Capitals played the Panthers. They did not have center Nicklas Backstrom or right-wing T.J. Oshie in any of those games due to injury and left-wing Anthony Mantha played just 7:03 before sustaining a shoulder injury that required surgery and kept him out for four months. Left-wing Conor Sheary and Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov each also missed two of those games. The Panthers have also acquired center Claude Giroux and defenseman Ben Chiarot since the Capitals last saw them.

The Capitals dropped both games against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning but outshot them 66-50 and were outscored just 5-3 over those two games. The most recent of which came on November 1. Backstrom did not play in either game while Lightning right-wing Nikita Kucherov missed one of them. The two teams meet once more at Capital One Arena on April 6. The Lightning acquired left-wing Brandon Hagel at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline.

Unlike their games against the two Florida teams, the Capitals have struggled against the Boston Bruins as they suffered arguably their worse loss of the season in a 7-3 loss at home on January 10 and were held to just 17 shots in their only other game against them, a 4-3 loss at TD Garden on January 20. The Capitals host the Bruins, who’s big trade deadline acquisition was defenseman Hampus Lindholm, on April 10 for the teams’ final meeting of the season.

The Capitals have faced the Toronto Maple Leafs just once this season, a 5-3 loss at Capital One Arena on February 28 in a game that they looked like the better team. The two teams see each other on April 14 at Scotiabank Arena and again in Washington 10 days later. Toronto has added defenseman Mark Giordano and right-wing Colin Blackwell since the last time the Capitals have seen them.

Metropolitan Division: 6-2-0

The Capitals have looked strong against their own division as they are 3-0-0 against the Eastern Conference-leading Carolina Hurricanes, including arguably one of their best performances of the season in a 4-0 win at Capital One Arena on March 3. They were the better team in their March 18 meeting at PNC Arena (where they won 4-3 in a shootout) and when they beat Carolina by a score of 4-2 on November 28 before the third period. The Capitals and Hurricanes will close out their regular-season series on Monday in Washington (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market). The Hurricanes acquired center Max Domi prior to the March 21 trade deadline.

The Capitals played one of their strongest games when they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 6-1 at Capital One Arena on November 14 but started slow before ramping it up in a 4-2 loss at home on December 10. The Penguins outplayed the Capitals in a 4-3 Washington overtime win on February 1 but a 43-save performance by goaltender Ilya Samsonov led the Capitals to victory. The Capitals and Penguins will wrap up their regular-season series at PPG Paints Arena on April 9. Center Rickard Rakell and defenseman Nathan Beaulieu came in at the deadline while right-wing Zach Aston-Reese and center Dominik Simon were shipped out.

The Capitals opened the season with a dominant 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers at Capital One Arena without Backstrom but lost 4-1 at Madison Square Garden on February 24. However, goaltender Igor Shesterkin arguably stole that game as the Capitals outshot the Rangers 37-21 and looked like the better team for much of that game. Each team will close out the regular-season against one another in the Big Apple on April 29 (but if positioning is settled for one or either, that team or both could opt to rest many regulars). Center Andrew Copp, right-wing Tyler Motte, defenseman Justin Braun, and right-wing Frank Vatrano came in at the deadline while defenseman Anthony Bitetto left town.

Central Division: 4-3-1

The Capitals defeated the NHL-leading Colorado Avalanche by a score of 6-3 on October 19 when they were off to a bit of a slow start and without captain Gabriel Landeskog, top-pairing defenseman Devon Toews, and right-wing Valeri Nichushkin. In addition, center Nathan MacKinnon played his first game after recovering from COVID-19, so he was likely not at his best either. The Capitals will visit the Avalanche, who acquired center Andrew Cogliano, defenseman Josh Manson, left-wing Arturri Lehkonen, and center Nico Sturm (in exchange for center Tyson Jost), at Ball Arena on April 18.

They fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild in their lone game against the Wild this season in a clash where they deserved to win but an own goal by left-wing Carl Hagelin with an empty net on a delayed penalty cost them. Though, the Wild were without left-wing Kirill Kaprizov, defenseman Jonas Brodin, starting goaltender Cam Talbot, center Nick Bjugstad, captain Jared Spurgeon, and top center Joel Eriksson Ek in that game. The two teams finish off their regular-season series at Capital One Arena on April 3. In addition to Jost, the Wild added goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Jacob Middleton (for goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen), left-wing Nicolas Deslauriers at the trade deadline.

One team that the Capitals have not looked good against this season is the St. Louis Blues, who outscored the Capitals 10-3 and outshot them 62-48 in their two games against one another this season. Though, the Capitals missed right-wing T.J. Oshie both times. The Blues acquired defenseman Nick Leddy in exchange for defenseman Jake Walman and right-wing Oskar Sundqvist in a low key trade deadline for them.

The Capitals turned in one of their most dominant periods of the season in the first frame of a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators on December 29, where they scored three goals, but gave up the lead in the second. Samsonov bailed them out in a 4-1 victory on February 15 in Nashville where he made 33 saves in arguably the best game of his career. The Predators added defensive depth at the deadline in Jeremy Lauzon and Alex Biega.

The Capitals earned their most dominant victory of the season in a 5-0 win over the Stars on January 28 when they chased 2018 Stanley Cup Champion goaltender Braden Holtby but fell 3-2 in Washington on March 20 despite outshooting them 38-23, including 14-2 in the third period. The Stars brought in right-wing Vladislav Namestnikov and goaltender Scott Wedgewood prior to the trade deadline.

Pacific Division: 2-2-2

The Capitals fell behind 3-0 in the first period on October 22 against the Calgary Flames but came back to tie it in the second before ultimately falling short in a 4-3 overtime loss. They trailed again 2-0 in the second and 3-2 in the third on March 8 but scored three unanswered goals to win it 5-4 against a team that went 17-3-1 in their previous 21 games. The Flames reeled in left-wing Calle Jarnkrok and right-wing Ryan Carpenter prior to the deadline.

They edged the Los Angeles Kings on November 17 thanks to two goals in the final five minutes and a 34-save shutout by Samsonov at Crypto.com Arena before coughing up a two-goal lead in the second period in a 3-2 home loss on December 20. Backstrom and Oshie missed both games while Kuznetsov was out for one. The only addition that the Kings made at the NHL Trade Deadline was defenseman Troy Stetcher.

The Capitals dropped both games to the Edmonton Oilers, though faced a rested team on the second night of a back-to-back each time as they fell 5-3 on February 2 (despite trailing 3-0) at home and 4-3 in overtime in Edmonton five weeks later. Oshie and captain Alex Ovechkin were out in the last game prior to the NHL All-Star Break. The Oilers’ big deadline acquisitions included defenseman Brett Kulak and center Derick Brassard.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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1 Response to Looking At The Capitals’ Records vs. Teams Currently In 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff Position

  1. Anonymous says:

    3-0 vs Carolina, 1-0 against Colorado. Not too shabby.

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