We are witnessing one of the most dominating sports performances in history, and no, the team is not the Golden State Warriors.
Despite how great Stephen Curry and company have looked on the court, the Washington Capitals are just as much the real story in sports right now. The Capitals now hold the record for most wins through 58 games in the regular season. With 44 wins, they have surpassed the ‘96 Red Wings who were arguably one of the best NHL teams ever assembled.
The craziest part is not the fact that the Capitals are winning, but the manner in which they are winning. For the statistic sport junkies out there, their Adjusted Margin of Victory is a 1.01. The next closest team in this category is the Florida Panthers at .48. This takes into account strength of schedule and, according to The Washington Post, after adjusting that margin of victory, they are an entire goal above the average in the league. In regular terms, this means that the Capitals are destroying just about every team in the NHL.
These statistics have put them on track to win the President’s Trophy, which is the trophy handed out to the team with the best record. They would not only win the trophy, but they would win it by a margin of over 10 points. This has only been done 3 times before in history, and was last accomplished 20 years ago by the same Red Wings team mentioned earlier. The Capitals are actually so far ahead of their division that if they only won half of their remaining games, the 2nd place team, the New York Rangers, would need to win 23 of their remaining 28 games to top them.
A lot of people are wondering how this could happen. The Chicago Blackhawks have dominated the NHL throughout the past 5 seasons, and while the Capitals have looked good, they have never been able to get to the Cup final since they drafted star player Alex Ovechkin. The answer is that their once young and inconsistent squad has matured just as well as any other team. The once shaky goalie, Braden Holtby, has looked better than anyone else out on the ice and he is backed by a stellar defense. Together, they have allowed the second fewest goals so far this season. The Capitals also have an incredible attack. Not only do they now have the talents of T.J. Oshie scoring for them on the wings, but their second line center, Evgeny Kuznetsov, is 5th best in points out of all players in the NHL. Of course, they also still have their All-Star caliber players in Niklas Backstrom and Ovechkin.
It is always a toss-up when it comes to playoff hockey, and there are many teams that have the potential to win the Cup this season. However, the Washington Capitals have the best shot by far with the talent and depth that they have on their bench. Their destiny is in their hands to win the team’s first Stanley Cup since the team’s founding in 1974. Everyone in Washington will be rooting for this team that is on the verge of making even more record-breaking history.
-Blake Saathoff ’17, Junior Sports Editor