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If You Think the Capitals Are Good... You're Right

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A quick look at some impressive numbers and balance

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Nineteen games into the 2015-16 the Washington Capitals find themselves in second place in the Metropolitan Division, five points back of the New York Rangers and three points up on the Pittsburgh Penguins (with a game in hand on each). They're about as comfortably in playoff position as a team can be before Thanksgiving, and it's not by accident - this Caps team is off to a strong start with underlying numbers that support the win total they've amassed and show no obvious significant weaknesses. Take a look at how the team ranks, League-wide, in several key indicators (data via NHL.com for the simple stuff, HockeyAnalysis and Puck On Net for the things you can't count on fingers and toes; click to enlarge):

Ranks

That's pretty much ideal - top-seven in the League across-the-board. And while we might expect, say, penalty kill percentage to slip a little based on the team's recent performance there, don't expect it to fall too far if at all - the Caps are third in the League in shots-against rate while four-on-five (and top-ten in shot attempts against).

It's worth noting that the Caps' have had, by at least one measure, a relatively easy schedule so far. But in today's NHL, there aren't many easy outs and a team can only play the teams on its schedule. And the Caps have done exactly that... and played those teams very well overall.