Run of the mill stuff for this team
As I posted about 2 weeks ago, the Caps were within the realm of being historically good, and despite a finish that appeared befitting of a team that wasn't trying against teams 'trying their faces off' (in the words of Red Rover), we actually ended pretty well. The result is simple, this Caps team had a historically good regular season. Here are some numbers:
- As I mentioned in my last post, getting up to 120 points and +84 in goal differential would give the Caps a strong case as the 2nd best regular season team of the past 13+ years, behind the 'o5-'06 Red Wings. We were on pace for 119 points at the time, but our late surge pushed us to 121 points and a +85 goal differential. The only problem with this 'accomplishment' is that the '05-'06 Red Wings and the #3 team by points and goal differential, the '99-'00 Blues, both lost in the first round.........
- Our 5-on-5 scoring ratio actually improved up to 1.57, which is the best figure by any team in at least the past 13 yrs. This statistic is relative to the league, so the Caps were the best 5-on-5 team relative to the league in at least 13 years.
- We ended up scoring 3.82 goals per game, making us the most prolific offensive team of at least the past 13 years. Behind the Net did a great feature on whether this was lucky or not, but also shows that relative to league average, the Caps had the 7th most prolific offense in league history. If you remove the teams from the 70's that played in a league lacking any sort of parity, the Caps trail only the '95-'96 Penguins and '83-'84 Oilers (also questionably for league parity questions) in relative offensive production. Given the salary cap and overall league parity, this may indeed be the best offensive season in league history.
- Although our powerplay dropped from 25.9% to 25.2% since my last post, our margin over the 2nd-best powerplay increased from 2.6% to 3.4%. This means a couple things, firstly, we had the biggest margin between best and 2nd-best powerplay in the league in the last 13+ seasons. Secondly, although many fans are concerned with the Canadians giving the Caps trouble by having the 2nd ranked powerplay in the league, but that unit has clearly not been playing up to its previous standards the past couple weeks. The league average powerplay ended up at 18.2%, so the Caps were 38% above the league average, which is still below the 44% mark posted by the '02-'03 Red Wings, but historically good nonetheless. This is great for the Caps, as the perception of there being fewer penalties in playoffs games does not appear to be true.
Overall, this team has been the 2nd best regular season team of the last 13+ seasons by point total and goal differential. When taking into account parity, this Caps team has had possibly the best offense in league history, fueled by historically great 5-on-5 and powerplay performances.
As we all know though, the slate gets wiped clean in the playoffs, so let's hope that this President's Trophy winner can live up to the lofty expectations.
(Stats courtesy of espn.com and nhl.com, image courtesy of everyfacetofthegame.blogspot.com)