Laviolette off to best start for a head coach in franchise history


Now 82 games into his tenure as head coach of the Washington Capitals, Peter Laviolette is off to the best start in franchise history.

Though this is technically Laviolette's second season behind the bench, his first season was shortened to 56 games due to COVID-19. He did not reach 82 games until Monday against the Anaheim Ducks and the results are pretty impressive.

Laviolette's first 82 games are even better than Bruce Boudreau's who took over in 2007. Under Boudreau, the team went an incredible 37-17-7 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2003 and for the first time since drafting Alex Ovechkin. In his first 82 games, Boudreau managed a record of 48-24-10.

And now Laviolette has beaten it.

Here's a look at the best records through 82 games in franchise history:

Peter Laviolette: 51-19-11, 113 points

Bruce Boudreau: 48-24-10, 106 points

Todd Reirden: 48-26-8, 104 points

Barry Trotz: 45-26-11, 101 points

Adam Oates: 45-31-6, 96 points

Per the Capitals, Laviolette's start is just the 20th time in NHL history a coach has earned 50 wins in his first 82 games with a team. His points percentage of .701 is the ninth-highest among those 20 instances.

Laviolette, who already has the most wins by an American-born coach, is close to another coaching milestone. He currently ranks 11th all-time in wins with 689 but sits just two wins shy of cracking the top-10 and tying Dick Irvin's 691. He is also just 11 wins shy of 700, a mark reached by only nine other coaches.

So far, Laviolette's hire has been a slam-dunk for a Capitals team looking at one more run at a Cup before a likely rebuild. But the real test will come in April when the playoffs start.