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The Noon Countdown: What’s the Difference?

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A look at some lopsided special team time

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals - Game Two Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

29 - Number of days remaining until the 2017-18 season. But it’s also...

...the Capitalsrank last season in the differential between power-play and penalty-killing time. The Caps were on the power play for just shy of 403 minutes in 2016-17, while checking in with 465:27 shorthanded - in other words, they spent almost 63 minutes more in the penalty box than they did with the extra man, second-most behind only Anaheim’s 71:01.

Of course, context is key and what may seem like a not-great stat on the surface isn’t as bad as it seems. Consider that we'd prefer Caps power plays to last less than two minutes and penalty kills to go the distance, and the team ranked fourth and seventh in the League in those categories. That, plus the fact that teams tend to take more penalties when leading and draw more when trailing, goes some of the way towards explaining the sizable differential.

Still, the Caps did commit the third-most minor penalties in the NHL a season ago, while receiving the 13th-most power plays, so that's a ratio they're going to want to work on.