Things You Might Not Know

Posted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel

Last year, I wrote up a series of random bullet point items pertaining to the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Most of the nuggets pertained to the Capitals or their first-round opponent, but there were a few others sprinkled in as well. A few people asked if I’d do a repeat this spring, so here goes. Back by marginally popular demand: Things You Might Not (Didn't) Know. (Even though you certainly know some of this stuff already. And thanks to some of my favorite gurus of information namely Nate Ewell and Carter Myers for some of the information contained within.)

  • The Caps set a franchise record for fewest goals allowed in an 82-game season in 2010-11, surrendering just 191 tallies.
  • Washington allowed 90 goals in its first 32 games (2.81 per game). It allowed just 101 goals in its last 50 games (2.02 per game). The last time a team allowed that few goals over a full season was before the lockout; the New Jersey Devils surrendered exactly two goals per game in 2003-04.
  • Last year’s Caps team went into postseason with a total of 2,277 games worth of experience among its top six defensemen. This year’s projected bunch – Karl Alzner, John Carlson, Mike Green, Jeff Schultz, Scott Hannan and John Erskine – actually has less with 2,144.
  • Since 1991, only two teams have won a Stanley Cup with fewer than 3,000 games worth of combined experience among its top six blueliners. The 1993 Montreal Canadiens had a combined total of just 1,517 games of rearguard experience, the fewest of any Cup winner in the last three decades. They also had Patrick Roy. Last year’s Chicago Blackhawks had just over 2,000.
  • Only two goaltenders in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs (Fleury, PIT and Niemi, SJS) have previously won the Cup as starters.
  • The Caps are the first Eastern Conference team to finish atop conference in consecutive seasons since New Jersey in 1997-98 and 1998-99. Eighth-seeded Ottawa upset the Devils in first round in 1998 and eighth-seeded Pittsburgh repeated the feat in 1999. New Jersey won its second Cup as a No. 4 seed in 2000.
  • With Jordan Leopold on the shelf, ex-Cap Shaone Morrisonn goes into the playoffs as Buffalo’s second most experienced blueliner. Mo has played 480 career NHL games, second only to Steve Montador’s 519.
  • This spring marks the first time that both L.A.-area teams – the Kings and Ducks – have made the playoffs in the same spring. All three California teams (including the Sharks) are also in for the first time.
  • The Caps allowed an average of 29 shots on goal per game in 2010-11, ninth in the NHL. That figure is third among Eastern Conference playoff teams, trailing only Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay (both at 28.7).
  • As he was last year, Montreal’s Roman Hamrlik is the Eastern Conference’s most experienced defenseman in the postseason. He has played in 1,311 career regular season contests.
  • The Rangers’ Bryan McCabe has played in 1,135 career regular season games, fourth most among Eastern Conference playoff defensemen this spring. McCabe’s total accounts for 55% of the Rangers’ total of 2,062 career regular season games among their top six defensemen.
  • McCabe has played in 51 career Stanley Cup playoff games, more than the rest of the Rangers’ top six combined. Michael Sauer, Ryan McDonagh and Hal Gilroy will all be making their Stanley Cup playoff debuts this spring on the New York backline.
  • This will be McCabe’s own first trip to the playoffs since 2004 when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • The Rangers were 29-0-0 when leading after two periods during the regular season. They were the only NHL team not to lose a game in regulation or overtime when leading after 40 minutes in 2010-11. The Caps were 29-0-3 in the same situation.
  • Washington was 39-0-3 in games in which it scored three or more goals in 2010-11.
  • Carolina (plus-74) and Toronto (plus-51) had the best special teams differentials (power play chances/times shorthanded) during the 2010-11 regular season. Among playoff teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning (plus-34) and New York Rangers (plus-33) were best.
  • The Capitals had a minus-36 special teams differential (263 PP chances, 299 times on PK) this season. Only Montreal's -37 is worse among playoff teams.
  • Washington, the Rangers and Detroit were tied for second in the NHL in most victories when trailing after 40 minutes (eight). The team that led in that category (Dallas with nine) did not make the playoffs.
  • The Rangers allowed just 53 first-period goals in 2010-11, fourth fewest in the NHL.
  • The Capitals allowed just 58 third-period goals in 2010-11, tied for second fewest in the NHL. Only Boston (57) allowed fewer.
  • New York’s Vinny Prospal is no stranger to facing the Caps in the postseason. He did so with Ottawa in 1998, with Tampa Bay in 2003, with Philadelphia in 2008 and now with New York in 2011.
  • The Caps played their first post-lockout playoff on April 11, 2008 at Verizon Center against Philadelphia. That was the first Stanley Cup playoff game in the careers of Nicklas Backstrom, Boyd Gordon, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin.
  • Backstrom, Green, Laich, Ovechkin, Semin and Matt Bradley are the only six players to have played in all 28 of the Capitals’ playoff games over the last three springs. Gordon and Poti have each played in 27.
  • Twelve of the 23 Capitals who played in the 2009 Eastern Conference Playoff series against the Rangers remain active on the 2011 team, while just eight of the 22 Rangers who played in that series remain active for New York.
  • After a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Jan. 12, Washington went 9-1-3 against Eastern Conference playoff teams rest of way. The Caps’ only regulation to Eastern playoff qualifiers was a 6-0 loss to the Rangers on Feb. 25.
  • Washington was 30-8-2 in its first 20 and last 20 games of the 2010-11 season. The Caps were 18-15-9 in the middle 42 contests of the campaign.
  • Both the Capitals and Rangers finished their seasons strong, with the Caps going 16-3-1 in their final 20 games and outscoring their opponents 59-38. The Rangers were 11-4-1 in their final 15 games, outscoring their opponents 51-35 in that span.
  • In last seasons playoffs, home teams won 46 games and lost 43 (.517). In the first round, the home teams actually lost more games than they won, 22-27 (.449)
  • Since 16 wins have been required to win the Stanley Cup, no team has ever won without at least one (and often more than one) short series (4 or 5 games).
  • The last team to win a Stanley Cup after enduring a seven-game series in the first round was the 1991-92 Penguins, who defeated the Caps in the first round.

next up:

The "E" Word

January 14, 2013

It’s been just over three years since the Caps took to the Verizon Center ice for their first post-lockout playoff series. Game 1 took place on Friday, April 11, 2008 at Verizon Center. Having won 15 of 19, 11 of 12 and seven straight to get into the playoffs, the Caps came in on a high. But they

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