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Turnover-prone Caps need to take care of puck

Monday, 09.28.2009 / 3:00 AM / 2009-2010 Season Preview

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

WASHINGTON CAPITALS
2008-09 SEASON STATS

Category Rank (Conference)
2008-09 Points 108
(2ND eAst/4th NHL)
Change from 2007-08 +14
Home Points 61
(2ND eAst/3RD NHL)
Away Points 47
(3RD eAst/8th NHL)
Advantage Margin            -50
Given the skill level of players like Alex Ovechkin, it's mind-boggling that the Caps were only 20th in power-play opportunities. They also need to do a better job in their own zone to cut down on the third-highest total of power plays allowed.

Even-Strength Goals Margin        +20
Not surprisingly, Ovechkin was tops in even-strength goals with 36 (no one else had more than 31). Alexander Semin added 26 of his 34 at even strength in only 62 games.
   
Special Teams Goal Margin        +8
Ovechkin had 19 power-play goals and defenseman Mike Green added 18 as the Caps connected 85 times and were second to Detroit in power-play percentage at 25.2. But the overworked penalty-killers allowed 75 goals, and the power play surrendered 11 shorthanded tallies.

Goals by defensemen            45
Green became the first NHL defenseman in 16 years to break the 30-goal mark. No other Washington blueliner scored more than three goals.

Overtime Record
Total: 10-3-5 (OT: 6-3, SO: 4-5)

Semin and Ovechkin each scored twice in OT -- Ovechkin got both against the Islanders. The Caps were 4-2 in shootouts at home, but 0-3 on the road, where they scored just once in 10 attempts.
   
Times Scored First
45 (Record: 34-8-3)
       
The Caps got the jump on their opponents 25 times at home, just 20 on the road. Washington's .756 winning percentage when scoring first was second in the East to New Jersey's League-best .841.

Best 08-09 Number             17-3

Washington's record in games that were decided by two goals. That number was fueled in part by the Caps' plus-10 margin in empty-net goals -- their 16 empty-netters tied Chicago for the League lead.   

Worst 08-09 Number          1,011
Giveaways by the Capitals, the second-highest total of any team (Edmonton was tops with 1,038). As good as the Capitals are, they need to take better care of the puck.
   
Scheduling
The Caps' schedule includes no road trip longer than four games. One of those trips comes as part of a seven-in-eight stretch away from home in November. Washington plays seven of nine at home in January and has a season-long five-game homestand in early March.


Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions