The Noon Number

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 09: Dennis Wideman #6 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his power play goal at 12:33 of the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs and is joined by Alex Ovechkin #8 at the Verizon Center on December 9, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

39 - Capitals' current "Bowman Index," which simply adds teams' ranks in power-play and penalty-kill efficiency (the Caps have the League's 19th-best power play and 20th-best penalty kill). That number ranks 24th in the League, ahead of only Dallas, Buffalo, Carolina, Columbus, Chicago and Tampa Bay. (As a point of reference, "Bowman's primary goal was to be able to take his team's leaguewide power play and penalty kill ranking, add those numbers together, and come up with a figure below 10.")

If we were to prorate the team's performance under Dale Hunter, its Bowman Index rises slightly to 35 (16th PP, 19th PK), which would be 21st in the League. And in the least shocking revelation of the day, the team's home/road splits offer a stark contrast - the Caps have a home Bowman Index of 16 (5th PP, 11th PK), which ranks them second behind Pittsburgh, while their road Bowman Index is a miserable 50 (28th PP, 22nd PK), which ranks only ahead of Buffalo and Tampa.

The bottom line here is two-pronged: the Caps' special teams need to be much better overall, and they'd better win the Southeast Division (and with it, home ice advantage in the first round) if they want to dramatically increase their chances of making some noise in the playoffs.

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