Maybe Capitals GM George McPhee knows what he’s doing. Maybe winger Dustin Penner will turn out to be a deadline day steal and his inconsistent offensive production will spark Washington to a dramatic run to the playoffs. But probably not. Although their past two games might suggest otherwise, offense isn’t the issue for the Caps. Their problems begin on the defensive side of the puck where, apparently, they have no clue how to get stop a steady stream of shooters attacking their net. McPhee’s club allows 33.5 shots per game, 27th-worst in the NHL. That’s a shot per game worse than last season, when Washington ranked 28th (32.3) and, not coincidentally, was brushed aside by the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.
It doesn’t take a stats geek to understand that if you consistently allow more shots than you unleash on the opposing team, you’re more likely to lose consistently as well. McPhee’s only priority at the deadline should have been a blue-line upgrade. That he didn’t make it happen ensures that the Capitals will be an early postseason casualty … again.