The Capitals Have A Chance To Go On An Extended Run

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Washington Capitals are on a roll. At the end of the day sports really is only about wins and losses. Right now the Capitals are doing a lot of that winning thing, and not a whole lot of that losing stuff. In hockey, points are points. You need to get as many as you can, at all times. It doesn’t really matter if it’s the beginning of October or the start of April. All the points matter, and the Caps are getting those points right now.

It was not the best of starts to the Capitals season, but since the 25th of October, a game against the New Jersey Devils in New Jersey to be exact, the Caps are one of the hottest teams in the entire NHL. Since then they are 8-1-1, good for 17 points in the standings. Only three teams are better than they are since then, they are the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers at 19 points, and the Los Angeles Kings at 18 points. The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers have also secured 17 standings points in that time as well.

It’s been a heck of a run. We can debate all day long how impressive the Capitals play has been during this stretch. Some games they can look good, like vs the Devils on the 10th. Other games you have to wipe your forehead and thank the hockey gods they were on your side that night. Like vs the Islanders and the Golden Knights in their next two games.

Like we said, a win a win, two points are two points.

The past is the past too. There is not a ton a good looking back at it. It’s usually best to look forward. When you look forward, meaning the upcoming schedule, things look like they could continue to go well for the Capitals. When you look at their schedule, there is not a lot of games coming up that you have to look at and fear for a potentially tough game.

That simple means this. The Capitals are 8-1-1 in their last ten games, and they have the opportunity to stretch this good run for at least a little further.

Lets go ahead and take a look at their upcoming schedule.

Up next is the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night. Unfortunately for the Sabres they have not had the best of starts being just 8-9-1 at the time of writing this. To make things worse for them, Tage Thompson went down with an injury and is week to week. Bad for them, good for the Capitals. One less giant thing to worry about when they meet.

We should also say this. It’s never good to count your wins before the games. It’s the NHL. Any team can beat anyone on any night. The Philadelphia Flyers have been a pretty good team this season, yet they lost to the San Jose Sharks. Enough said.

BUT! For arguments sake, the Capitals, if they truly are a good team, need to beat a shorthanded Sabres team on home ice tomorrow night.

The day after American Thanksgiving they then welcome the Edmonton Oilers to town. I think I’m probably one of the many who will not count out the Oilers just yet. You look at the roster and you still see talent. And by the way the name that continues to stand out when looking at the roster is Connor McDavid. Then right behind him is Leon Draisaitl. But they have been struggling mightily this season. They give up a lot of goals. Again, it’s on home ice. You’re playing a team that is struggling badly. That needs to be another win.

Now the Capitals take a trip to California. I’m going to make this quick. Two of the three California teams are not very good. The Ducks are better than most expected, but they are still just 9-9-0 and at the time of writing this are on a three game losing streak. The Capitals need to win vs the Sharks on the 27th and the Ducks on the 30th. The Kings on the 29th will be tough, there is an easily acceptable loss. The Ducks being the second of a back to back will make that harder, but they still need to beat them.

Now we turn the page to December and things do get a little tougher. The good should continue for just a little longer though. But not to start the month. After the California trip, they then head to southern Nevada to face the Golden Knights. I think we all saw how good Vegas was the other night. Charlie Lindgren stole that game. It’s going to be a tough one in Vegas. That’s another acceptable loss, playing a contender on the road.

The Caps finish their west coast swing playing against the Coyotes on the 4th and that is the end of their “easier” schedule. The Coyotes are a team on the rise. They have some good players. Among them being one of my absolute favorite players to watch in Clayton Keller. They’re not a pushover team. They’re 8-8-2 right now, not bad, but again, if the Capitals want to show us they are a top team this needs to be another W.

After this stretch the schedule bounces from some good team to some bad one. Right after the Coyotes the next two games are at home vs a real tough Dallas Stars team before welcoming the Rangers to the nations capitol.

Other teams the Caps will face in December include the Flyers, who we already mentioned and are playing well to start the year. The Hurricanes are on the schedule, the Islanders twice, the Lightning, and the Rangers again, this time in MSG. While there are some bad teams in the schedule as well, it gets tougher.

What’s all of this mean? We looked at the next seven games for the Caps. That goes all the way to December 7th. In those seven games we basically need to see the Capitals go 5-2-0.

We’ve accepted losses in LA and Vegas. Tough teams, contending teams on the road. We need to see Washington beat Buffalo, Edmonton, San Jose, Anaheim and Arizona. Average and some bad teams, and a couple of those on home ice.

That puts their record during their good stretch at 13-3-1. Who wouldn’t take that?

I still think it needs to be repeated that last season, around this same time as well, the Capitals had a stretch where they went 12-3-1. Outside of that stretch they were one of the worst teams the NHL had to offer. While it’s good to be optimistic, don’t get too excited just yet. That’s why I keep saying talk to me in January after a long, extended winning spell.

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But for now, I think it is okay to be excited. The Capitals are winning and their schedule does not look incredibly tough, at least for the next couple of weeks. The Caps have a chance to really put together a nice stretch here, now the question will be, will they?