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The Noon Number: Killing ‘Em Softly

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A look at a recent stretch of disciplined play

Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

1.67 - The average number of penalties taken per game by the Capitals over the last two weeks, with the team going shorthanded just ten times over that span (fewest in the League).

In the six games dating back to November 22, the Caps have been down a man no more than three times in a single game. That’s a welcome change from their usual march to the penalty box; the Caps were shorthanded at least four times in a whopping 14 of their first 19 games of the season.

Not surprisingly, improving discipline has helped the penalty killers, who have successfully killed nine of the ten penalties taken in the last six games - the lone blemish being a fluky deflection goal against the Lightning.

They face a tough challenge to maintain that level of discipline against tonight’s opponent; no team has drawn more penalties this season than the Blackhawks, who lead the pack with 112 power-play opportunities so far (albeit with a dismal 16.07% success rate with the extra man, third from the bottom).