246.95 - Amount of time (in minutes) that the Caps have played with a one-goal lead so far this season, the most in the League. That represents 28.6% of the team's total ice time, nearly twice last year's 14.6% of time spent up a goal (and actually is a larger percentage of time than the Caps spent with a lead of any size in 2013-14, 27.2%). Here's how the Caps' season breaks out so far, by score:
Back to their play when leading by one, the Caps have been outscored 12-to-6 (only Dallas has allowed more goals when leading by one and only five teams have a worse goals-for percentage in those situations), and have a 47.2 all-manpower Corsi-for percentage, 14th-best in the League (16th-best at five-on-five).
Washington has owned a lead in the second period or later in 13 of its 14 games this season, but the Caps have won only six of those games and have underachieved to the tune of 6-5-3 to date. Reeling off a winning streak is important, but so is developing the killer instinct needed to protect those leads more effectively. Too frequently this season, the Caps have been unable to add to leads and unable to protect them, too.
"I think it’s a bunch of things," says Carlson. "I think it’s something as a group where we need to get more mature in that sense. I’m sure the coaches will be talking to us a lot about it.
"As a group, we were real happy after those two wins [on the weekend] but we know if we’re going to be a real successful team, we’re going to need to handle situations like that better. I think we’ve always showed that we could come back [from deficits], but this season we haven’t really done a good job keeping [the lead]. It’s something we’ll have to talk about. I’m sure we’ll talk about it and be a little bit more mentally strong and make sure that our mindset is that it’s a tie game or a tight game and to keep grinding it out and try to get the next [goal]."
Still... playing with the lead sure beats the heck out of playing from behind - these aren't the worst problems to have.
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