Capital Punishment

Washington posts strong first half

At the game 41 mark, the Washington Capitals are playing strong and rank among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The team has secured 52 points and has a +16 goal differential.

Off/Preseason. The Caps went into the off-season with multiple holes to fill on defence including Shea Weber and Mike Green testing free agency, Alexey Marchenko departing for Europe, and Jamie Oleksiak being traded away. Shea Weber decided to re-sign with the contending Caps. Two new Caps – Jack Johnson and Kyle Quincey – were signed, but a tight salary cap resulted in the loss of Quincey. Brandon Davidson was later acquired in a trade to round out the defence.

Scoring. The Caps scoring has been led by Steven Stamkos who is producing at over a point per game pace (24 goals and 43 points in 39 games). Five more players – Brent Burns, Travis Zajac, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Shea Weber – scored at least 20 points, and James van Riemsdyk recorded at least one point every two games despite an injury (18 points in 30 games). Burns is the team lead in assists (27).

Various Stats. Stamkos also leads the team in +/- with a +12 and is among 13 Caps (minimum 5 games played) with a positive rating. Weber is the team lead in blocked shots (65) and penalty minutes (64 PIM). Pageau dished out the most hits (60) and leads the team with the best face-off winning percentage, among those who have taken at least 250 draws. Goaltender Martin Jones is among the league leaders in wins and minutes played.

Injuries. The Caps dealt with several minor injuries to Stamkos, Pageau, and Greg Pateryn, and a major disabled list trip for van Riemsdyk. Altogether, this was too much pressure on the tight cap and resulted in the loss of Davidson on waivers.

MVPs. The MVP (Offence) is Stamkos, and the MVP (Defence) is Burns who also logged the most minutes and has a healthy +/-.

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