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The Shootout and Franchise Records

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via <a href="http://cdn.nhl.com/capitals/images/upload/2008/06/christian_dave.jpg">capitals.com</a>
via capitals.com

With a win tonight in Tampa (or in Sunrise on Saturday), the Caps would set a franchise mark for points in a season (eclipsing the 1985-86 team's 107 points) and tie the team record for wins (50) in a season.

It's worth noting that that '85-'86 squad played an 80-game season, while this year's Caps will play 82. More importantly, when that team from a generation ago was tied after 65 minutes of play during the regular season, the game ended in what was known back then as a "tie," with each team getting one point in the standings, whereas nowadays teams stage a mini-skills competition and don't leave until someone is declared the winner... and awarded a win and an additional point in the standings. Four times this season, the Caps have grabbed that shootout win and extra point. Additionally, back in the mid-80s, overtime losses - as far as the standings were concerned - were treated the same as regulation losses, and teams didn't get a point solely for being tied after sixty minutes. The '85-'86 Caps didn't lose a single regular season game in overtime, but this year's team has received points for losses eight times so far.

In other words, the 2008-09 Caps have already picked up 12 points (four via shootout wins, eight via OT/shootout losses) and four wins (in shootouts) that weren't available to the 1985-86 incarnation of the team.

The question to you, then, is should this Caps team set a new franchise record for wins and/or points in a season, is it "legit?" 

Of course, the post script here is that that 1985-86 team lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Rangers, a team that finished 29 points behind the Caps in the Patrick Division that season - a reminder that records and regular season successes mean nothing once the second season starts.