Tomas Fleischmann's Streak

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 03: John Carlson #74 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammates after scoring in the second period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Verizon Center on November 3 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

When it became apparent over the summer that Tomas Fleischmann was going to be the Caps' second-line center heading into the season, the associated concerns of most onlookers focused on the Czech pivot's defensive shortcomings. After all, in 2009-10 Flash had the worst 5-on-5 Corsi rating and goals-against-on-ice-per-sixty (GAON/60) of any forward that spent the entire season on the team, and he was arguably the team's worst penalty-killing forward, considering his GAON/60 at 4-on-5 and the quality of competition and teammates contributing to that number (and nearly all of those stats were compiled while Fleischmann was playing the less defensively-demanding position of left wing).

The concerns were valid. And they still are. Tomas Fleischmann is not a viable long-term solution to center the second line of a Stanley Cup hopeful.

But a dozen games into the season, Flash has been on the ice for just one goal against, and that came just 7:57 into the first game of the season (you remember it - a bad turnover at the top of the defensive zone that Evander Kane converted to tie the game at one). In other words, Fleischmann has played 174:43 (sixth-most per game of all Caps forwards) without the opposition scoring a single goal. That's good enough for the fourth-best GAON/60 at 5-on-5 among all NHL forwards who have played ten or more minutes over ten or more games.

To be sure, this is an unsustainable pace for Flash (especially if he continues with a bad Corsi rating against even weak competition and a brutal faceoff win percentage). But it's a run worth recognizing, if for no other reason than that it has allayed some of our biggest fears about Fleischmann as a center... so far.

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