Although just two games have been played during the 2011-12 regular season, so far the Washington Capitals have made it seem that their run-and-gun ways are back -- or that their defense is way
behind their offense in terms of development. A 6-5 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night followed a 4-3 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on opening night.
Those two wins give the Caps 4.5 goals per game (second in the NHL), but also a 4.00 GAA (26th). The reality is that they'll probably finish somewhere in the middle of those two numbers. However, heading into their next two games -- Thursday at the Pittsburgh Penguins and Saturday at home against the Ottawa Senators -- the Caps need to start tightening up on offense.
Each goalie has started once and neither has looked overly impressive. New acquisition Tomas Vokoun gave up three soft goals against the Lightning, while Michal Neuvirth didn't dominate. That's nitpicking, yes, but with a small sample size that's the only available evidence so far.
No conclusions are drawn in October, so the basic goal remains the same: establish good habits and play the right way. All the rest should
take care of itself.