If we learned nothing from the 2011-2012 season, we found that you just need to make the playoffs to have a chance to earn the Cup.
I did a little analysis of the past 20 or so years of how many points it took to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Here's what I found:
1995 was a strike shortened season, with only 48 games played (also, there was not a charity point then). It took 51 points to make the playoffs then, with the high of 65 points.
from 1995-1996 to 2003-2004, there was a low of 77 points in 1997 to a high of 93 points just to make the 8th and final spot. The high points for those 82 game seasons ranged from 103-113 points.
Scratch the 2004-2005 season due to the lockout, and they returned with the 3 point game, so I will focus my analysis from this point forward.
It took a range of 88 to 94 points just to make the playoffs in this time frame, with a high point total ranging from 104-121(wonder who had that 121?).
The Caps should be shooting for 1.159 points per game (95 points/82 games=1.1585).
Using only 48 games, then they would need 56 points(48 x 1.159=55.61).
A lot of coaches will break the season down into mini-seasons, and 48 games breaks into 8-6 game segments. So, each 6 game segment would need points 6.954. And after this first segment, the Caps are just minus 4 points which is easily remedied with a nice hot streak.
Just to remind everybody: a new coach, new assistants, a new system, some new players who need to learn their teammates tendencies, a lot of change and no pre-season to get the kinks worked out.
So, take a breath, we'll be okay.