One month into the season, it would be fair to say the Capitals have not had the start they were hoping for. There are several factors that have contributed to their early season struggles, but perhaps the most troubling has been the team’s inability to gain any momentum whatsoever.
Washington is just one of three teams in the NHL that has not won two games in a row.
What we see in the first month of the season is often not indicative of what a team will be over the course of 82 games.
Ottawa and Carolina both had great starts to the season, but have both cooled off. Arizona and Edmonton, meanwhile, both looked horrible in early October, but now look like they are playing some of the best hockey in the league.
Heck, last year’s Capitals’ team went 10-9-1 before they turned things around.
But when you’re one of only three teams that has not managed to string together two straight wins, that goes beyond just a slow start. It’s actually pretty remarkable that Washington is not further down in the standings considering the other two teams, Florida and Los Angeles, both sit tied for the fewest points in the NHL.
So why can’t the Caps gain any momentum? A bizarre October schedule that saw the Caps have several long stretches between games did not help. Washington is also still adjusting to life as the defending champions. We’ve seen New York, Calgary and Montreal all manage third period rallies against the Caps while New Jersey kept its foot on the gas for 60 minutes in a 6-0 win and Florida got its first win of the season in Washington.
As the defending champs, no one is going to take the night off against the Caps. Washington is going to have to be ready to give a 100-percent, 60-minute effort at the start of every game. That’s easier said than done in November when just five months ago they were hoisting the Cup after the most intense hockey they have ever played.
Nothing is coming easy this year because no one will let it.
There’s a lot of hockey left to play and it’s certainly not time to panic. The Caps have done well to stay in the thick of the standings despite the trouble they have had building momentum. But now it’s time to produce. November will see Washington play 15 games in just 30 days. It’s time to string some wins together. Until they do, they will continue to slide down in both the standings and the rankings. Find out where they fall here in this week’s NHL Power Rankings.
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