Of all the teams that are off to poor starts, it feels like the Washington Capitals have managed to fly a bit under the radar.
Maybe it’s because the Caps haven’t been blown out to the extent the Rangers have. Or they haven’t had to fire the coach like the Flyers. Or they haven’t had horrendous goaltending like the Oilers. Or there aren’t major trade rumors surrounding them like the Sabres. Or they’ve actually managed to win a game (two, in fact), unlike the Devils.
But make no mistake, things have not been good in DC. The Caps dropped a 2-0 decision last night at home to the Rangers, pushing their record down to 2-5-0 after seven games.
With that in mind, here are three things that have to be concerning for the club and its fans:
1. Even strength, the Caps have scored just eight times.
The other eight goals they’ve scored (for a total of 16) have come on a power play that probably can’t keep clicking at a rate of 30.8 percent. Overall, Washington ranks 20th in the NHL in offense, averaging 2.29 goals per game.
Now, to be fair, there may be an element of bad luck to all this — the Caps have actually averaged a respectable 30.3 shots per game.
“We have our chances out there and we just, to be honest with you, can’t score,” captain Alex Ovechkin said after being shut out by the Rangers.
Still, you have to wonder how much the Caps are missing their second-leading scorer from last season, Mike Ribeiro.
2. Ovechkin can’t do it all.
The captain’s six goals lead the club; Mikhail Grabovski is second with three; nobody else has more than one.
Not to mention, Grabovski — essentially Ribeiro’s replacement — got all three of his goals in the season-opener and has been held to just two assists in the six games since.
The Caps could really use guys like Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer and Mike Green to put some pucks in the net.
3. It’s not about to get any easier.
The Caps host Columbus Saturday then head out on a five-game trip to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Philadelphia.
No, those some of those teams they’ll play on the trip aren’t the best, but road games are road games and that’s a lot of miles they’ll have to travel.
Where will the Caps be in the standings when they get back? Seven games in — including five home games — they’re already in a hole.