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Good Caps, Bad Caps

05/08/2012 at 3:47pm EDT

In 12 postseason games — and most likely throughout the entire 2011-12 season — the Washington Capitals have swayed between playing brilliantly and being mistake-prone. These emotional and physical swings can happen from one period to the next, or even in the bat of an eyelash.

Last night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers brought the Caps’ postseason record to 6-6. They’ve scored 26 goals and allowed 27. They eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in seven games and were this close to being up three games to two on the top-seeded Rangers. In a flash, New York received a four-minute power play (on a double-minor to Joel Ward), scored two goals in less than two minutes of elapsed game time (over the end of regulation and the start of overtime) and snatched a victory away from the Caps.

Even so, many would argue that the Caps had no business even being that close. The Rangers out shot them, 38-18 overall and 17-4 in the first period. New York dominated play for most of the game and, even though they failed to unleash a shot on three power plays, the Rangers still converted when it mattered most. The Caps’ offense seems to be improving, but they still couldn’t get a shot on goal during several odd-man rushes last night.

But that’s been the Caps’ M.O. all along. They’re 6-1 when they score first, 0-5 when they don’t. (Their lone defeat when they notched the initial tally was game three against Boston.) For the record, the Rangers scored first last night.

The Caps’ 2.17 goals scored per game is last among teams still playing — tied with the Rangers — and their power play is converting at 17.1 percent, tied for seventh. They’ve allowed 2.25 goals per game — sixth-best in the league — while their penalty kill is at 85 percent, seventh in the league.

Read the rest of the post at Fanspeak.com.

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