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The Noon Number: Too Close for Comfort

A look at coin flips and regression

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

15 - One-goal losses for the Caps so far this season (six in regulation, nine in overtime and the shootout), tied for the most in the NHL (Anaheim). Add in another three games in which they pulled the goalie down one late and surrendered an empty netter to turn a one-goal loss into a two-goal defeat, and that’s 18 of 22 total losses being essentially one-goal losses, against just seven one-goal wins. Their .318 win percentage in one-goal games ranks 28th in the League.

And while it’s tempting to attribute the Caps’ miserable record in one-goal games to any number of things, the reality is that the outcome of one-goal games can be pretty random. To wit, the Caps posted a League-leading .760 mark (19-1-5) just a season ago, with the same coaching staff and largely the same group of players. Were they that good a year ago? Are they that bad now? The answer to both, of course, is “no,” and the smart money would be on them playing out the rest of the season at just north of .500 in one-goal games, which certainly would help their cause in the Eastern Conference playoff race.