Uncharted Territory for the Caps

To be in the upper echelon of the NHL heading into the back half of the season is a rarity for the Washington Capitals.

The Caps have never been this far ahead at this point in the season.

After 41 games, the Caps record stood at 27-11-3 -- a 66% win rate*. They won 65% of their first half games in '91-'92 and 63% in '85-'86. In franchise history, the Capitals have only won 50 percent or better of the season's first half games six times.**

The Caps lost 3-2 in overtime to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night in a battle of the East's two best teams, but it shouldn't be considered a sign of a bad start to the post All-Star break season.

Even though both Ovechkin and Semin ended the night banged up, and the Caps came up short on all six of their power-plays, they held their own with the Bruins in a hotly contested game between two evenly matched teams. Goalie Jose Theodore also performed admirably: the game winning goal in OT came when the puck unexpectedly caromed off a teammate's skate. If one of these wrongs had gone right, they might have pulled the game out. Next time they likely will.

Their ultimate fate won't be judged by a single game against an opponent now tied with San Jose for the NHL points lead. Rather, it's about how this team will respond, in the long run, being chased and not the chaser.

*After the All-Star break, the Caps were 30-14-4
**  The Caps entered the NHL in '74-'75 - out of 35 seasons (one was canceled and one was shortened, 24 games), they have played an 84 game schedule twice, 82 games 13 times, and 80 games 18 times.

Data via Google Docs

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