Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Ten Stories of 2009 -- Number 7: Home Cookin'

Continuing with the top ten Caps stories of 2009, we’re up to number seven…

Number 7 – Home Cookin’

The old saying in team sports is, “split on the road, win at home.” Well, the Caps did the latter in 2009 with a vengeance (last night’s result notwithstanding). The Caps were 14-8-2 in the 2009 portion of the 2008-2009 season, which included an 0-3-1 hiccup at the beginning of March. In the 2009 portion of the current season no team had fewer home losses in regulation than did the Caps heading into last night’s action. The 12-3-3 home record thus far this season brings the Caps’ 2009 home mark to 26-11-5. In those 42 home games the Caps…

-- Scored at least five goals ten times.

-- Outscored the opposition 148-127 (3.52 – 3.02 per game)

-- Outshot the opposition by an average of 34.7 to 28.2 shots per game

-- Converted power plays at a 26.7 percent rate

-- Killed penalties at an 84.2 percent rate

-- Had six streaks of at least three wins in a row (high: five, which was snapped last night)

-- Finished with at least a .500 mark against five of the six divisions:

• Southeast: 9-3-0
• Atlantic: 7-2-3
• Northeast: 6-2-1
• Central: 2-1-1
• Northwest: 1-2-0
• Pacific: 1-1-0

But one of the most important parts of “home cookin’” can be found in this number…


No, it’s not a reference to the Northern Virginia area code. It is the total number of unsold seats the Caps had in 50 regular season and playoff games in 2009. The Caps sold out 48 of those games. Only a January 13th game against Edmonton (a 5-2 loss watched by 17,948) and a March 3rd game against Carolina (another 5-2 loss watched by 17,903) marred a perfect 2009. In terms of attendance, these are the glory days of the Capitals.

The combination of success and the red-clad crowds make Washington an increasingly difficult place of opponents to visit. Whether this will matter in terms of a championship is something that will be decided in a few months. The Caps could, if current standing hold, enjoy home ice advantage for at least two playoff rounds. But for now, the Caps winning ways and the packed-to-the-rafters rink in which they play makes “home cookin’” one of the top ten stories of the year.

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