The Washington Capitals are facing a significant problem 18 games into the 2023-24 season: their inability to score goals. After suffering losses to the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks — two of the NHL’s bottom three teams in goals against — by a combined score of 7-1, the media has once again turned its focus to the Capitals’ scoring troubles.
Head coach Spencer Carbery appeared as a guest on The Sports Junkies Wednesday morning to address his team’s struggle to find the back of the net.
The Capitals have scored at a rate of 2.33 goals per game this year, placing them just above the struggling San Jose Sharks (1.64).
Carbery acknowledged the issue, stating, “It’s just the same thing that’s been an issue for us all year and it’s probably going to continue to creep its head. We’ll work on it every single day and pay attention to it but just our lack of scoring and ability to finish and make that last play, beat a goalie one-on-one, score on a breakaway. What you see from our group is that we’re just not a high octane, gonna be able to have six, 25-goal scorers in our lineup. We just have to manufacture goals and we’re going to have to find ways to get secondary chances and we need maybe eight or nine guys to have 12 goals. It’s just where we’re at as a team.”
Carbery’s analysis is accurate as the Capitals have only one player on pace to exceed 25 goals this season. With just one player on pace to cross this threshold, their offensive struggles are evident.
However, even though the team has seen diminished production from its key players, they have managed to secure enough wins to rank seventh in the Eastern Conference in terms of points percentage. Despite this, Carbery is aware that their success has been irrespective of their offensive struggles.
Carbery emphasized the importance of generating scoring opportunities, stating, “We really have to work to generate that last play and find that polish offensively because it just doesn’t come to our group naturally.”
Despite their low goal-scoring rate, the Capitals are creating enough offense to secure a higher placement in the league. Their expected goals per 60 minutes ranks 12th in the league, and this ranking climbs even higher when considering only power play time.
While the Capitals’ power play has not been successful, Carbery remains focused on improving their performance rather than setting numerical targets for improvement.
The Capitals face a daunting challenge from the Los Angeles Kings, who are known for their solid defense and effective penalty kill. It remains to be seen whether the Capitals can overcome their scoring difficulties and secure a victory against one of the toughest teams in the league.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
Sarah Anderson dives into the fast-paced world of NHL hockey. Her coverage includes game analysis, player spotlights, and the latest news from the ice. Sarah’s dedication to the sport ensures that hockey enthusiasts stay informed about the NHL’s thrilling action.