The first month of the Washington Capitals in the new 2018-19 NHL season wasn’t exactly an ideal one. Except for the 6-0 home-opener victory over the Bruins, the team itself didn’t had a good month at all, with five victories and losses and 37 goals against in 10 games.
During November, the numbers demonstrate some improvement, like 10 victories in 15 games and 40 goals against even with five games more compared to October. The goals against average would be better if it weren’t for the 6-4 and 4-3 (OT) losses to the Canadiens and the Stars in the first and second games of the month. The Caps had already given up 10 goals in total, but as we can see, the numbers turn to Caps favor henceforth.
Also this month, the return of Tom Wilson had a good impact on the team as he’s been showing great individual development. Suspended since pre-season due to a hit in St. Louis Blues Oskar Sundqvist, he has returned with seven goals, six assists (13 points), a +/- of 8 and a three power play points (one goal) and a shorthanded goal. He is changing the narrative by showing more individual and collective improvement, though his reputation built through these years still pursue him, like being ejected in his 400th NHL game. Fortunately, he won’t be suspended (thank God!).
Playing whether home or away wasn’t exactly a problem for the Caps in November. On the road, playing in Minnesota, Winnipeg, Colorado and Montreal, the Caps came home with three victories in four games – losing in Winnipeg. On their return to home, they’ve defeated the Blackhawks and the Red Wings. After this, a little tour in New York, defeating both Rangers – thus, defeating four of the original six and consecutively – and Islanders. On this occasion, Nic Dowd scored one goal in each game, reaching three goals – his first one was in the home-opener 6-0 victory over the Bruins –, developing in a team that’ll need a good bottom six. Yet in this last game in the Big Apple, Nicklas Backstrom has surpassed Peter Bondra in franchise points.
Then, the Caps finished November with a 6-3 victory over the Devils in DC, with Nicklas Backstrom (he again!) getting a hat trick. Nicky has already got nine goals and 23 assists (32 points) in all the 25 season games so far. Since their win over Colorado, the Caps don’t know what losing means, with seven-win streak. Also, this month the Caps couldn’t count totally with two of their great players: Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie.
Sunday the Caps start their month by hosting the Anaheim Ducks at the Capital One Arena. Let’s see what December has reserved for us!