Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
In today's NHL, overtime and shootouts are of paramount importance. A single solitary point lost in overtime or the shootout could not only cost a team its playoff positioning, it could cost a team its spot in the playoffs altogether.
Through 18 games, Washington's goalies have been very good in both overtime and the shootout.
In five games that have reached overtime, Washington has yet to allow a goal in the extra frame. The team has yet to score a goal in overtime, as well.
In shootouts, the Caps have faced the fifth-most shots against at 15 and have allowed the sixth-most goals against with six. Their shootout save percentage of .600 is 19th best in the league.
These numbers are average, but they are deceiving. Half of the six shootout goals against occurred in the same game. On Oct. 22, Washington beat Winnipeg 4-3 in the sixth round of the shootout in a contest that saw six consecutive shooters from both teams convert their shootout attempts. This means that Washington goaltenders have allowed only three shootout goals against in the four other games that went to a shootout and blanked their shootout opponents in two of those games. That's impressive.
All told, Washington is tied for the league lead in shootout wins with four and has suffered only one shootout loss.
The only problem with the Capitals' reliance on shootout success is that the team has only five regulation and overtime wins (ROWs), which the NHL uses as a tiebreaker. That is the fewest ROWs of any of the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference standings by a wide margin. This deficiency could cause an issue come playoff time, but it certainly isn't the fault of the goalies.