[ed note: No post on the Caps - Islander's game as I didn't get to see it since I had a prior social commitment - it's that time of year....by all accounts it was an ugly win, but I'm glad they don't have to give back the two points ....]
The season is 32 games old for the Washington Capitals - 50 games to go before the playoffs begin - the Capitals have picked up the pace again here in December so far going 6-2-0 since the beginning of the month (0.750 hockey). Washington is now 8 points ahead of second place Carolina in the Southeast Division standings; third in the Eastern Conference both by virtue of being the SE Division Leaders and on straight points; and fifth overall in the league 3 points behind the NY Rangers but with two games in hand over them. The Washington Capitals have arrived, last night they proved that not only can they be dominant over most on their good nights but they can still eke out an ugly win over at least some NHL teams when they are having a bad night. The change has been gradual but in the end the Caps have built themselves into this sort of team by having a core of players - not just one superstar, though there can be no doubt that the Caps have at least one superstar and who that player is.
A look at the overall league leaders and the stars of the month in October and November easily confirms that the Capitals - like the leagues other solid stable teams - are not "one trick ponies." As of this morning a look at the statistics for the leagues leading skaters - the top 50 statistical leaders for each of the major categories shows the following.
#3: Alexander Ovechkin - 19 (30 games played);
#14: Alexander Semin - 14 (20 games played).
#6: Alexander Ovechkin - 23;
#9: Nicklas Backstrom - 23 (32 games played);
#34: Alexander Semin - 17.
#3: Alex Ovechkin - 42;
#14: Nicklas Backstrom - 33;
#18: Alexander Semin - 31.
#1: Alexander Semin - +20;
#17: Mike Green - +13 (21 games played);
#29: Alexander Ovechkin - +12.
Points per game:
#3: Alexander Semin - 1.55;
#5: Alexander Ovechkin - 1.40;
#28: Nicklas Backstrom - 1.03;
#42: Mike Green - 0.95.
#10 Mike Green - 20.
#4: Mike Green - 8;
#47: Tom Poti - 3 (21 games payed);
#51: Milan Jurcina - 3 (32 games played).
Defenseman Points Per Game:
#3: Mike Green - 0.95;
#29: Sami Lepisto - 0.57.
Face Off Leaders (Face Off Won %):
#5: Boyd Gordon - 58.2% (29 games played - 335 faceoffs);
#12: David Steckel - 55.6% (29 games played - 333 faceoffs);
#58: Nicklas Backstrom - 48.9% (32 games played - 444 faceoffs);
#59: Michael Nylander - 48.6% (31 games played - 288 faceoffs).
Shooting % Leaders:
#7: Alexander Semin - 23.0% (averages 3.0 shots/game);
#39: Tomas Fleischmann - 16.7% (averages 2.1 shots/game; 29 games played).
#1: Alexander Ovechkin - 5.9;
#25: Mike Green - 3.3;
#47: Aleaxnder Semin - 3.0.
#3: Alexander Ovechkin - 107;
#59: Milan Jurcina - 57.
Isn't nice to talk about real, meaningful statistics and facts instead of the obscure ones that used to get flashed up on the jumbo-tron during the "rebuild"? Remember things like: "Over the last 20 games Jeff Halpern leads the league in goals scored after his former high school in Potomac, MD's basketball team wins a game"?
Next up - the Saint Louis Blues on Thursday Evening at Verizon Center. Please keep "Rockin' the Red" - I know I will be.
LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!