TXHT Report Card – The Washington Capitals Through 20 Games

The Washington Capitals have played their first 20 games of the 2019-20 season and it is time for their first TXHT Report Card of the season. TXHT will be doing report cards for the Capitals every 20 to 21 games during the regular season, and comparing how they do each quarter of the season to the previous quarters.

 

Key Stats

Record: 14-2-4

Points: 32

Goals Forward: 79

Goals Against: 60

Powerplay: 22.9% (9th)

Penalty Kill: 84.9% (8th)

 

First 10 Games

In the first ten games of the season the Capitals kicked off things off against the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues on the road where they would win 3-2 in overtime, then would follow up with another road victory against the New York Islanders. The Capitals would then come home to face the Carolina Hurricanes, but this would be the start of the Capitals small slide as they would fall to the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. The Capitals would also proceed to lose to the Dallas Stars at home 4-3 in overtime, and to the Nashville Predators on the road 6-5. The Capitals would bounce back in Dallas with a 4-1 victory over the Stars, but would be embarrassed by the Colorado Avalanche at home with a 6-3 defeat. However, the Capitals would end the last three games of their first ten games of the season with victories over Toronto (4-3), the New York Rangers (5-2), and Chicago (5-3).

 

The Capitals would go 6-2-2 for 14 points. Despite the positive record the Capitals had a lot of issues, especially in the first five games, with keeping the lead as the Capitals would blow three consecutive leads which resulted in them being dealt with the loss in all three. The Capitals would also come out flat against the Avalanche to suffer their worse loss of the young season. However, on the plus side the Capitals would not be shut out in any game, and would score 3 or more goals in each game except for one.

 

Next 10 Games

In the next ten games the Capitals would continue their winning ways as they would continue their five game road trip with a 5-3 victory over the Calgary Flames, but would then fall to the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in overtime. The Capitals would end their road trip on a winning note as they would defeat Vancouver 6-5 in the shootout, and Toronto 4-3 in overtime. Back at home the Capitals would trounce the Buffalo Sabres 6-1, and with the new World Series Champion Washington Nationals in the house, the Capitals would put out the Flames 4-2. The Capitals would then gut out an overtime victory against the Florida Panthers on the road, then back at home the Capitals would route the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. In a Veteran’s Day matchup with the Arizona Coyotes the Capitals would fall in the shootout 4-3. Then to finish the second half of their first twenty games the Capitals would defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in the shootout.

 

The Capitals would go 8-0-2 for 18 points. The Capitals on their road trip would experience some turbulence in Edmonton and Vancouver as the Capitals would blow another lead in the third period as the Oilers would defeat them in overtime. While in Vancouver the Capitals would mount the comeback as they would erase a four goal deficit to defeat the Canucks in the eventual shootout. Against Arizona the Capitals would comeback from a three goal deficit against the Coyotes, but would eventually fall in the shootout. The great resolve the Capitals showed after going down three goals showed, and even almost had the game won until TJ Oshie’s assumed second of the game was waived off due to the play being offsides. The loss to the Coyotes, and the close matchup with the Flyers were both great tests for the Capitals as they have been coasting these first twenty games with some turbulence, but not enough adversity to challenge this team going down the stretch.

 

Top Players

John Carlson – 8g, 22a, 30p

 

Alex Ovechkin – 13g, 10a, 23p

 

Both Carlson and Ovechkin leads the team with goals (Ovechkin), assists and points (both Carlson) to lead the charge for the Capitals. Carlson, an early candidate for the Norris Trophy, was the first star for the month of October in the NHL for his historic month.While with Ovechkin he continues to produce as an all around player for the team and has not slowed down as a goal scorer.

 

Players on the Bubble

Jakub Vrana – 9g, 8a, 17p

 

Tom Wilson – 8g, 8a, 16p

 

Both Vrana and Wilson are on the bubble for me, as both are producing very well on the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov (8g, 10a, 18p) as their center. Vrana I’d like to see cut down on the penalties and clean up his overall play as he’s been sloppy with the puck, and has also seemed lost out on the ice too. For Wilson he needs to finish a bit more. In the game against Philadelphia he had great opportunities, but couldn’t finish. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Vrana and Wilson hit 30 goals this season, and is very likely they both can.

 

Needs Improvement

Richard Panik – 0g, 0a, 0p

 

I know many find me picking on Panik, but you can’t deny the fact that he just hasn’t produced in the ten games he has played so far this season, and is the only member of the team to not have a point yet this season. Panik has had a few great opportunities but couldn’t seal the deal for himself or the Capitals. Panik would miss ten games due to injury, and would have one semi breakaway opportunity in his return game against Philadelphia, but was very unnoticeable the remainder of the game. The biggest thing Panik can do is score a goal or get an assist to boost his confidence. Once he can get a goal or an assist that will help him relax more and allow him to focus on the game with some more clarity.

 

Overall the Capitals are off to a great start, but there is not enough adversity to challenge the team. A few losses will be good for the Capitals, and some tougher matchups will help prepare this team for the long run.

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