The Washington Capitals have won the Stanley Cup and President’s trophy in the past three years. So how come they come up short in back to back games.
The Washington Capitals climbed the mountain to win a Stanley Cup in the 2017-18 season. They also have the most regular season points since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
The team won the President’s Trophy for the most regular season points for the 2016-17 season. In the 2017-18 season, they finished with the sixth most points.
Last season, the Caps finished fourth overall. So far this season, Washington leads the NHL in points.
Since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Washington is playing to a 0.675 points percentage which is the third highest points percentage over a four-year period in Caps history.
The best four-year period is from 2015-16 to 2018-19 followed by 2014-15 to 2017-18. Needless to say, the Caps have Rocked the Red lately.
So how come the Caps are terrible in back to back games in a time where the Caps are having the greatest success in club history? If you follow the odds at actionnetwork.com, you shouldn’t be surprised to see the Caps have a low chance for a win when they are playing their second game in two nights when the opponent had the previous night off.
The Caps have won nine games and lost twenty-one games when they are playing their second game in two nights and the other team was rested. That results in a 0.300 win percentage.
The league average over the same time period is 0.428. So it is difficult for most teams to win their back to back game when the other team has rested but it is especially difficult for the Caps. Only the Buffalo Sabres have a lower win percentage at 0.297 during this time.
When both teams are playing a back to back game and the amount of rest is equal, the Caps have done much better. In thirteen games over the same three-year period, Washington has ten wins and three losses for a 0.769 win percentage. Only the Calgary Flames are better having won both of their games.
So how come the Caps can’t find their legs on the second night when the opponent has had at least one day of rest between games. Certainly, the Caps organization must have investigated ways to manage fatigue and recovery.
Normatec, the company who championed the athletic recovery system, congratulated the Caps for their Stanley Cup win two season ago. Center Lars Eller is seen carrying his Normatec recovery system while boarding the plane.
Of the twenty-one losses, all but three occurred when the team was on the road. An easy hypothesis is that the team needs to check their travel logistics so that the players can manage their sleep schedules better.
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Maybe the team stays at hotels with uncomfortable beds. Maybe the morning pre-game skate should be pushed back.
While the lack of success in these back to back games has not affected the Caps much, the possibility for improvement is something the team should explore. The players are constantly honing their craft, the team needs to do the same to find a way to get more wins.