BOSTON, MA – MAY 21: T.J. Oshie #77 of the Washington Capitals warms up before the game against the Boston Bruins in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on May 21, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

While Thanksgiving used to be a bellwether for predicting a team’s Stanley Cup playoff chances each year, the Christmas holiday season seems to be the new “norm” in measuring if NHL teams have a chance of making the postseason.  With Christmas two weeks away, the Washington Capitals have found a very appropriate time to find new life to their 2022-23 season.

How are the Capitals doing lately?

With excitement building over Alex Ovechkin’s impending 800th goal with each game, the quiet reality is that injuries aside, the Capitals are actually improving.  With a 13-12-4 record, the Caps have discovered the north side of being at .500 for the season.  The Capitals are also coming off of their first three-game winning streak including a 4-1 win against the Seattle Kraken last Friday.  That win has culminated into a recent 6-2-1 run over the last nine games and the Caps are slowly but surely moving up the Metro Division standings.

The Washington Capitals have been known as an offensive-minded team for years but recently it’s been the team’s defense that seems to be the driving force behind their reversal of fortunes.  With a penalty kill ratio pushing 87% lately and the solid play of Charlie LIndgren, the Caps have discovered that a solid defense can only help the cause in the long run.  Lindren has been solid defending the pipes and picked up his third straight win.

Even more impressive, Lindgren has 82 saves out of 86 shots in the last three games as well and the Caps have only given up two goals in this recent stretch on standard five by five play.  In the last nine games, the Caps’ opponents have only scored a total of 20 games which is even more impressive given that defensemen Martin Fehervary and Dmitri Orlov are out on injured reseve and new defenseman Alex Alexeyev has just joined them after a big hit last Friday – after garnering his first NHL point.

The Capitals take on the red-hot Winnipeg Jets on the road tonight and then head on to Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Tuesday night.  The Jets are sitting at 18-7-1, leading the Central Division and sitting on their best start in franchise history.  This short road trip will be a good test of the Caps’ winning longevity and allow Alex Ovechkin to move ever closer to the magic 800 goal mark before returning home.


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