On December 3, after a 5-2 loss on the road in Calgary to the Flames and with injury issues still building, the Capitals’ chances in the run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs come spring season looked more worrisome. The team collected just 24 available points out of 50 — a .480 fielding percentage.
In just one month, and with the deadline pushed back to 2023, the Capitals turned that entire narrative around. The Caps finished the month 11-2-2 and are all the way back in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Capitals, as of January 2, sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 47 standing points. Only the Carolina Hurricanes (56) and the New Caesars Devils (49) have more. If the games started today, the Capitals would have the third seed in the Metropolitan Division and would be the sixth best team in the Eastern Conference overall.
See how drastically things have changed from a story perspective. We will now compare the three main sources of that loss in the Caps starting season in early December.
Until December 3, 2022;
to January 2, 2023;
Micah Blake McCurdy’s HockeyViz model now also projects that the Capitals will finish second overall in the Metropolitan Division and just barely miss the second 100-point mark of the season.
Projection point past fifteen tenths. pic.twitter.com/GUdmtbEwA0
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) January 1, 2023
Even further into future scary waters, MoneyPuck now has the Capitals as the sixth-most likely team from the Eastern Conference to win the Stanley Cup and the 11th-most likely overall.
Dogs, Leafs, and Bruins head into 2023 with best Cup chance https://t.co/2nMPy5HBwX pic.twitter.com/fKgJXsohPJ
– MoneyPuck.com (@MoneyPuckdotcom) January 1, 2023
That kind of confidence was brought by those models, super ice events. At five-on-five in December, the Capitals saw 51.3 percent of their shot attempts, 56.5 percent of field goals, 52.6 percent of their scoring chances, and 53.7 percent of their high-danger chances. journey
The team also saw great results in terms of five-on-five shooting percentage (9.2%) and especially five-on-five saving percentage (93.6%). Both brands are firmly in the top half of the league. That is, things started clicking on both sides of the puck.
Taking the peak towards January, the team still has more potential to move up. They will play low teams such as the Blue Jackets three times, the Philadelphia Flyers twice, and the Arizona Coyotes once.