Friday, November 02, 2012

The Capitals at the Imaginary Ten-Game Mark

Ten imaginary games into an imaginary 2012-2013 season, the Caps sit with a 5-3-2 record, good for second in the Southeast Division behind the Carolina Hurricanes (6-3-0).  It is not quite the 8-2-0 record the Caps compiled in their first ten games last season, but it is still a 98-point pace for the season.

On the bright side, the 29 goals compiled so far has the team ranked ninth in scoring offense, the 2.90 goals per game so far an improvement over the 2.66 with which they finished last season.  On the other side of the ledger the 25 goals allowed represents a 2.50 goals per game average, which ranks 11th in the league.

Special teams are a mixed bag.  The power play suffers an old problem – not enough work.  At this time last season the Caps already had 38 man advantages, converting them at a 23.7 percent pace.  Through ten games so far this (imaginary) season the Caps are only 4-for-25 (16.0 percent).  The penalty kill is faring better, allowing fewer opportunities than at this time last season (33 to 36) and is killing a larger share of them off (84.8 percent to 75.0 percent). 

Individually, Alex Ovechkin is off to a fine start.  His 8-5-13 start is an improvement over his ten-game start last season (5-5-10).  And although Nicklas Backstrom (1-8-9) is not quite on the pace on which he started last season in his first ten games (4-10-14), he does not seem to be suffering any lingering effects of the concussion that cost him half a season in 2011-2012.

If there is a bit of a surprise it is that all eight defensemen on the roster have registered at least one point in the first ten games.  Even Jack Hillen (0-1-1 in his only appearance) and  Jeff Schultz (0-1-1 in two games) have points.

On the other side, the Caps might have expected a faster start from Mike Ribeiro (2-3-5 through ten games), and Wojtek Wolski has but two assists in five games for which he has dressed.

In goal, Michal Neuvirth has taken a firm hold on the number one role, compiling a 5-2-1 record with a 2.25 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.  On the other hand, Braden Holtby’s start has been somewhat slower.  Through ten games Holtby is 0-1-1, 3.09, .886 in three appearances.

The team leaders at the ten-game mark of this imaginary season are as follows: