When it comes to hockey, the 82 game season is in no way a sprint and a team cannot afford for it to be played that way. It needs to be looked at as a marathon and strategically planned that way.
The Washington Capitals need to improve on a lot this year but one thing that needs to be done to set them up early for a playoff run is they need to have a fast start and get out of the gates.
Under Adam Oates, the Washington Capitals went 2-8-1 in the 2012-13 season and had to come back and win 15 of their last 19 games to make the playoffs, which they did but lost in the first round. Last year the dropped 4 of their first 5 games and were never able to make a difference at the end of the season to slide into the playoffs. Those late runs are great for motivation and getting into the playoffs but that is about it. When you make those types of runs there is bound to be a drop off because of the energy spent.
Getting a fast start will provide the Capitals a little bit of breathing room right off the bat and they won’t have to be playing catch-up late in the season.
The Capitals also need to limit their long losing streaks. Another reason they missed the playoffs last year was a seven game losing streak in January. If you take their 4 loses in the beginning and 7 in the middle, even cutting those in half could have made a difference and set them up to make the playoffs as they only missed it by 3 games last year.
A loss in this league, will drop a team quickly and it will take 2 to 3 wins just to move up a spot. Limiting losses is the best way to make the playoffs but also limiting long streaks of loses is even better.
For the Washington Capitals, we are not even talking about a lot here. They had 38 wins and missed the playoffs by 3 points. That’s 2 wins. So realistically, if the Caps could look to take away 5 more games with wins rather than OT loses. They have already covered that 3 point ground and moved up into a 6th spot with 95 points.
Limit the loses, finish games strong, and have a fast start. Those are the three keys for the Washington Capitals this season.