The Capitals aren’t just having a great season. They’re having an historical season.
With their 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night the Caps have now won more games (44) through 58 games than any team in NHL history.
More than the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who totaled 132 points in 80 games with guys named Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden and Larry Robinson.
More than 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers (119 points) with Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Jari Kurri.
More than the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings (131 points) with Steve Yzerman, Paul Coffey and Sergei Fedorov.
And yes, more than those high-flying, death-defying 2009-10 Capitals (121 points) with Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green and Alex Semin.
“This team has had quite a lot of regular season success,” newcomer Justin Williams said in the aftermath of the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night. “But I’m not quite sure it’s been this good.
“I keep waiting for the bad, for a little slump to come, and it hasn’t come yet. I’m a realist and know we’re going to need to ramp up our game in the last 20.”
Ramp it up?
These Capitals have not lost back-to-back games in regulation all season and are on pace for 130 points.
Their goaltender, Braden Holtby, is on pace for 54 wins – SIX more than Marty Brodeur’s NHL record of 48.
Their leading goal scorer, Alex Ovechkin, is on pace to become the first player since Wayne Gretzky to win four consecutive goal-scoring titles.
So why wouldn’t these Capitals be enjoying life right now?
“When you win some games and when the team plays well, everybody has a good mood,” Ovechkin said after netting his 39th goal, putting him on pace for 56.
“I hope it’s going to be until the end. We have a good locker room and everybody is supporting each other. Sometimes somebody has a bad night, but different guys step up and take care of each other.”
There is, of course, another issue at play here. The NHL trade deadline is six days away and Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is wracking his brain over whether he should leave well enough alone or try to fortify the best team in hockey with a defenseman and/or a forward.
Williams, 34, says the Caps aren’t out to make history in the regular season.
“We’re just going to see how good we can be,” he said. “We’re trying to get better every game and nitpick and get out all the crap out of our game that won’t work come playoff time and see where it takes us. We’re enjoying the ride, just like everyone else is.”