Capitals and Blackhawks: Where They Stand


Nov 7, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Joel Ward (42) looks for a tip in front of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With just 29 short days sitting between now and the 2015 Winter Classic, we at All Over The Hill feel it’s a good time to take a look at where both the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks stand prior to the New Year’s Day game at Nationals Park.

The Capitals

Nov 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates after assisting on a goal by Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) against the Calgary Flames in the first period at Verizon Center. Ovechkin became the franchise

Make no mistake about it. Right now is a frustrating time to be a Washington Capitals fan. The Caps are 10-10-4, sit in fourth in the Metropolitan Division and just cannot seem to sustain a substantial winning streak. In fact, Barry Trotz’s team has not won more than two straight games at a time this season.

The Caps are currently on a two-game losing streak, with an embarrassing 6-2 loss on the road in Toronto before dropping a back-and-forth contest Tuesday night against the Canucks, 4-3, at home.

Nine of the next 12 games for Washington are on the road, including the next three against Eastern Conference opponents: @ Carolina, @ New Jersey and @ Tampa Bay.

Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin lead the team in points, as expected, with 25 for Backstrom (5 G, 20 A) and 21 for Ovechkin (12 G, 9 A).

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After them, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson and Joel Ward round out the top five for points. Carlson is second on the team with 14 assists, while Johansson and Ward each have nine goals on the season. However, after those five, the rest of the group is pretty muddled around the early teens or less for points.

Defensively, the Capitals rank 21st in goals allowed at 2.8 per game. Braden Holtby has struggled at times this season, but overall has played consistent. He’s allowing 2.5 goals per game and is saving 91 percent of his shots. Holtby has an 8-7-3 record on the year, including a shutout.

His backup, Justin Peters, has not fared so well. He’s allowing 3.28 goals per game and is saving only 87 percent of the shots he has faced. His most recent outing was the 6-2 loss against the Maple Leafs, and he holds a 2-3-1 record on the year.

One bright spot for the Caps is that two players rank in the top 10 in hits. Brooks Orpiks is fifth in the league with 92, while Ovechkin is 10th with 78. However, after that, the closest player is Troy Brouwer tied for 25th. Those are the only Capitals in the top 50 in hits, according to

While there have been some players who have been producing both offensively and defensively, there is not enough production from the team as a whole, which is why the Caps have struggled so far this season.

The Blackhawks

Nov 26, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) deflects away an shot on goal by the Colorado Avalanche in the first period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago is faring much better than Washington so far this season, despite losing the only match-up so far this season in Chicago, 3-2.

The Blackhawks are 15-8-1 and third in the tightly contested Central Division.

Starting goalkeeper Corey Crawford is playing how we’ve grown accustomed to – great. He has a save percentage of .929 and is allowing just 1.87 goals per game.

As a team, Chicago has surrendered just 48 goals, compared to 69 from Washington.

The Blackhawks also have eight players who have tallied at least 14 points. Patrick Kane leads the way with 23 points (10 G, 13 A) and Jonathan Toews has 19 points (10 G, 9 A) – both players lead the team in goals.

As a team, the Blackhawks have six more goals than the Capitals (74 to 68).

The 2015 Winter Classic will be another good game, but in order for the Capitals to keep up with the balance of the Blackhawks, they’ll need to find their groove over the next month, especially with a road-heavy schedule.

Washington’s next game is Thursday at Carolina. The puck will drop at 7 p.m.