Friday, March 05, 2010

One Number

With all the hoopla surrounding the trades of the week just ending and the Caps seeming to have righted themselves in the race to the top of the league standings, we pause for a sobering thought.

For all the statistics that are becoming available to rate team and individual performance, there is one number out there that -- if it doesn't get corrected -- could spell doom for the Caps in a playoff scenario.  That number is:


That is the difference, in percentage points, between the Caps home penalty killing (86.3 percent) and their road PK (72.7) percent.  The Caps are fourth in the league in home penalty killing, but stand 29th (ahead of only Toronto) in killing penalties on the road.  The 13.6 point disparity is the widest margin of that measure in the NHL.

Chances are at some point in the playoffs, the Caps are going to have to win a game on the road.  That chore is made of much harder when you can't kill off penalties with a team buzzing about you and their fans roaring in your face.  If there is one facet of the game the Caps need to shore up, this likely is it.

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