The Washington Capitals played almost half a virtual 2012-2013 season before the league and its players association agreed on a framework for a new labor agreement that would allow a real 2012-2013 season to be played.
In those 40 games the Caps compiled a record of 21-15-4, good for second place in the Southeast Division, their 46 points being three points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Compared to last season through 40 games, the Caps realized some improvement. In 2011-2012 they were 21-17-2 at the 40-game mark, this season being a two point improvement over the 40-game total last season. It is not an insignificant difference. Last year, 44 points after 40 games left the Caps in tenth place in the East, two points behind eighth-place Pittsburgh.
On the power play, the Caps have become more efficient, converting 19.8 percent of their man advantages compared to 19.0 after 40 games last season. The difficulty, though, is still the team’s inability to draw penalties. Last season they finished 26th in total power play opportunities; this year they are on a pace to finish last with fewer opportunities (217) than Colorado finished with last season (222).
The penalty kill has shown greater improvement. The Caps’ 87.1 percent efficiency rate ranks them fourth in the league. Were they to finish there it would be a vast improvement over their tie for 20th place finish last season.
Overall, the offense is right where it was at 40 games last season – 117 total goals scored. The defense, though, is much better. The 105 total goals allowed (2.63/game) is 13 fewer than what they were at the same milepost last season (2.95).
Individually, the leaders through 40 games look like this, with their comparable 40-game totals from last season…
And so you have it. The Caps after 40 games of this virtual season are a bit better than last season, but there is still a long way to go. This will be the last installment of our look at what a 2012-2013 season might have been. With the NHL and NHLPA having reached agreement on a framework for a new labor deal early this morning, the real thing will be starting up in the next couple of weeks. Let the real games begin.