The Capitals have opened the window for the Stanley Cup this season - Sports1
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The Capitals have opened the window for the Stanley Cup this season

After a competitive reorganization last season, the NHL resumed its division in the 2021-22 season.The East is fully loaded; six of the top seven teams are from the conference, and three of the Atlantic and Mets are represented-six of the eight teams are from the league ESPN’s latest strength ranking.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/Hockey writer)

Last season, seven Eastern Conference teams entered the top 10, and the Stanley Cup finalists were all from the Eastern Conference-although the Montreal Canadiens ranked 18th in the NHL, they did not perform well this season. On the other hand, there are two surprising teams in the Mets. The most disappointing is the New York Islanders. They reached the semifinals last season and are now ranked last in the division. The team that exceeded expectations is the Washington Capitals.

The capital is still a threat

Washington being a surprising team is surprising in itself, but the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are expected to be better this season, and the Carolina Hurricanes are not only the favorites in the division, but also the Stanley Cup. A strong competitor. In addition, the Capitals are an aging team, they push the limit of the salary cap with very little return of value.

related: The defense of the Capitals puts them at the top of the NHL standings

Washington has done it in many ways: their star players, especially the first team, are unstoppable, some rookies have gained a foothold, and head coach Peter Lavilot has implemented a lasting strategy-so far. If they can maintain this level of competition, then other members of the league should be tight in the playoffs.

NHL’s top line

Now, the Capitals have an early MVP candidate Alex Ovechkin. Also, Yevgeny Kuznetsov Has regained his vitality and proved why he is one of the best centers in the league. The 36-year-old Ovechkin ranks third in the NHL with 41 points (41 points) and number of goals (20 points)-Leon Dresettel leads the two with 45 points and 23 points respectively. All skaters in the category.

Kuznetsov scored 28 points and is expected to usher in the best season of his nine-year career.Tom Wilson Once again proved his worth More than just a thug. He is expected to score 75 points, which is 31 points more than his career high of 44 points set in the 2019-20 season.

Of course, the health or lack of health of their teammates will increase the output of the trio. Niklas Baxstrom (hip) Haven’t played this season, Anthony Mantha (upper body) was in the injury reserve, TJ Oshie, Lars Eller and Nic Dowd were all absent for a while. With this in mind, what is even more impressive is that Washington is still at the top of the league.


The surprise of the surprise is the performance of the rookies of the Capital team. Martin Fehervary is expected to perform well after being inserted into the lineup from the opening night, but some of the early excitement of Hendrix Lapierre and the contributions of Brett Leason, Aliaksei Protas and Zach Fucale gave the team a boost. Apart from Fehervary, no other rookie is more impressive than Connor McMichael.

The 20-year-old McMichael scored 8 points, but his solid all-around performance helped a lot while the team was waiting for Baxstrom’s return. In addition, he is gaining experience at the NHL level rather than regressing, which is a possibility given that he was forced to enter the lineup to fill Washington’s roster.

Ravellot’s strategy

The rookie’s performance can be attributed to Ravellot’s strategy to some extent.Pair with Fehervary John Carlson Very smart, because it not only helps rookies learn, but veterans can make up for any early flaws. The rookies who play with Washington’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Hershey Bears are also smart to play on the same line.

How to own Ravellot Close to goalkeeper situation Also worked. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vaneckek started in 14 and 13 games respectively. Both of them had save rates of over 0.900, and the number of goals scored was 2.60 below the average. Fucale won the lockout in his only start.

However, Samsonov’s record set him apart. The 24-year-old has a record of 11-1-1 this season. Although he has played the least number of games among his previous 10 network administrators, he is ranked 11th in the NHL. His winning percentage of 0.786 is also higher than the ten players.

What needs improvement in the capital

Not everything is perfect. The Capitals need to get better in some ways, otherwise they won’t last long in the playoffs-of course, if they make it to the playoffs. It is practical to believe that Ovechkin will slow down his pace at some point. Considering that he, Kuznetsov and Wilson already account for 39% of the team’s points, other players need to step up their efforts.

This may change when Backstrom and Mantha return. Health is another major issue in Washington. Too many well-known players enter the injured reserve team or fall into the COVID-19 agreement. Players are at high risk of not being able to play late in the season, and they need to be physically prepared for deep runs.

related: The third phase of the capital collapse leaves room for improvement

Their endurance also needs to increase. In the seven overtime/penalty shootouts that Washington has participated in this season, they have lost six. I’m glad they can score a point, but in the playoffs, a loss in overtime may mean you are going home. They sometimes allow the team to return to the game in the evening snow, so consistency is the key to moving forward.

Projection of the capital

At this point, Washington is a strong contender for the Stanley Cup, but the fan base should remain cautiously optimistic. They may not be able to maintain this speed, but they have put themselves in a favorable position ahead of time in order to have a little cushion later in the season-if needed. There is currently no reason to get your foot off the throttle, because you never know when the Islanders will figure it out, and the Pittsburgh Penguins will enter the state when healthy.

With the help of their top lineup, rookies and Ravellot’s wisdom, the Capitals are full of confidence and behave like a top team in the NHL. They have always been a threat, but it is surprising how big they are now. All they need to do is to maintain a similar pace, and they will be in a good position for playoff time. Everyone thinks that the closing window is still open.

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Carl Knauf is Writer and main reporter (So ​​the degree says).He specializes in Sporty——Mainly hockey——music,as well as Publishing Industry. His sports writing has been published in Hockey writer, The last words of sports, And the local newspaper in his hometown of New Mexico. Carl reported on the Washington Capitals through accurate reports and detailed analysis to help readers answer basic and pressing questions such as “Why didn’t the Capitals win the Stanley Cup (again)?”

Carl really enjoys interacting with his audience (except for the trolls who he refuses to respond to embarrassingly).Please use the comment section at the bottom of each THW article, or you can chat with him and follow him at any time Twitter. For interviews and feature requests, please visit his Mud rack contour.

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