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The Globe and Mail

Caps' incredible offence way ahead of the pack

Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals warms up prior to the game against the Florida Panthers on January 13, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Joel Auerbach/2010 Getty Images

It's fair the say the Capitals are on a bit of a roll.

Eleven wins in their past 11 games. A 14-2-0 record so far in 2010. And, by a big, big margin, the most goals scored in the league this season, an average of 3.82 per game that is right out of the high-flying '80s.

What's even more incredible is just how many more goals Washington is scoring than the teams around them. In an era where we generally see league scoring hover between 5.50 and 5.70 goals per game, games involving the Capitals average nearly 6.50 - with most of that the result of how many goals Ovechkin and Co. are scoring every night.

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By comparison, the top scoring team last season (Detroit) had only 3.52 goals per game. No team has finished a season scoring above 3.80 goals per game in the past decade.

If we compare the top scoring teams from the Original Six era on, using the league average goal per game figure from those seasons as a guide, this year's Capitals team is the sixth most prolific scoring team. Washington scores at a rate 38.4 per cent above the league average:

The highest scoring NHL team of all-time is actually those '83-84 Oilers up in third there with 5.58 goals per game, but that was done in an era when there were nearly eight goals per game, every game. Some of Bobby Orr's Bruins teams also had pretty incredible distance from the rest of the league in this department, too, with the '70-71 team sporting 10 different 20-goal scorers.

Given this, lower scoring era, the Capitals are headed to be in close to the same ballpark. Four Caps currently have a point a game, Ovechkin's on pace for another 50-goal season and Rocket Richard Trophy and 11 players have a plus-minus of plus-13 or better. The goaltending hasn't been half bad either.

It's going to be interesting to see if they can keep it up.

My thanks to Gabe Desjardins for some of the number crunching in this post.

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