The Tampa Bay Lightning have clinched their spot in the Playoffs as well as the Presidents’ Trophy, which goes to the team with the most points in the regular season. This is a big deal for the Bolts; they have never won the trophy before and it guarantees them home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. A huge advantage which the Capitals would have liked to have.
Although the Lightning have secured first spot in the NHL, they are not necessarily the best team nor does it mean they will win the Stanley Cup in the final round. Truth is, since 2013 no team that has won the trophy has also won the Cup.
So how do the Capitals look compared to the rest of the league. Hockey Reference gives us a good look at where the Caps rank, on average, against other teams in the NHL. Age wise, the Caps are a tad older than the average team which means their game is matured and they know their attributes. As a team, they surpass the league average for wins, points, and points percentage. Additionally, they are above the NHL average in total goals, power play goals, power play percentage, PP goals against, and power play opportunities against. They are on average for overtime shootout/losses and power play opportunities.
Then there are the players and how they stack up and what they can bring to close out the regular season. The Caps have a special 20+ goal club going with Alexander Ovechkin leading the pack. The group includes TJ Oshie, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, Brett Connolly, and recent addition Evgeny Kuznetsov. Give Nicklas Backstrom a couple more games and he should join the elite group too.
Four NHL players are in the 40+ goal range: Ovechkin (48), Oilers Leon Draisaitl (43), Blackhawks Patrick Kane (41), and Maple Leafs John Tavares (41). As it looks today, the Caps only have the potential to face Tavares in the playoffs, if the Leafs make it to the final round. In the Eastern Conference here is the breakdown by teams that are likely to be in the playoffs and the number of players with 20 or more goals. The Caps lead here too with six and the potential for seven.
Blue Jackets 4
Maple Leafs 5
As we consider how the Capitals stack up against teams around the NHL, and particularly the Eastern Conference, we conclude that the odds are in their favor to go all the way in the playoffs. They have the scoring power to dominate. They need to ensure they have a strong defense and close any gaps in protecting the net. All that to say, we can’t wait to get to the playoffs and see how all these stats play out! Good Luck Boys!!