The Washington Capitals and their 313 Goals

Scoring 313 goals in the modern defensive era is a huge achievement. The Capitals have the 7th-highest goal total relative to the league average since the 1967 expansion:

 

Team Year GP W L T GF/G LGE %+ PLY
BOS 1970-71 78 57 14 7 5.12 3.12 63.9 L 4-3 in QF
MTL 1976-77 80 60 8 12 4.84 3.32 45.6 SC 4-0
EDM 1983-84 80 53 18 9 5.58 3.94 41.3 SC 4-1
PIT 1995-96 82 46 27 9 4.41 3.14 40.5 L 4-3 in SF
BOS 1973-74 78 52 17 9 4.47 3.20 40.0 L 4-2 in SCF
BOS 1971-72 78 54 13 11 4.23 3.07 38.0 SC 4-2
WSH 2009-10 82 43 15 24 3.82 2.77 38.0 ?
EDM 1982-83 80 47 21 12 5.30 3.86 37.1 L 4-0 in SCF
MTL 1974-75 80 47 14 19 4.68 3.43 36.5 L 4-2 in SF
MTL 1977-78 80 59 10 11 4.49 3.30 36.1 SC 4-2

 

There are really only four teams that have been able to do anything like this: the early 70s Esposito-Orr Bruins; the late 70s Canadiens dynasty; the Gretzky Oilers; and the Jagr-Lemieux Penguins, who didn't typically hit this level of dominance.  The first three teams were able to repeat this performance year-after-year because they were just that much better than the rest of the league offensively.  But the Capitals have not shown this level of shooting ability:

5v5 Sh% 2007-08: 7.1%
5v5 Sh% 2008-09: 7.2%
5v5 Sh% 2009-10: 10.9%

In other words, while the stars aligned for the Bruins, Canadiens and Oilers in terms of them acquiring superstars and their opponents sucking, the same has simply not been true for the Caps.  With largely the same offensive personnel as in previous seasons, Washington has simply gotten very lucky in the shooting percentage department.  Or for those of you who don't believe in luck, the Capitals players have "made their shots" this season.  Either way, it's no more likely to happen again next year than it was to have happened last year.

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