Hard to believe we are already one-fifth the way through the 2012-13 season. Despite some teams not reaching the 10-game mark just yet, there have been several remarkable disappointments early on this season. Here are five of the biggest:
1. Washington Capitals
Getting accustomed to a new coach and a new system can always be tough, but the Capitals should not be 2-7-1 through 10 games. Adam Oates’ gang has been suspiciously disappointing. The goaltending has been a letdown, as Braden Holtby’s 4.52 GAA sticks out like a broken thumb. Alex Ovechkin, with two goals thus far, has continued his career downward trend.
The Capitals are caught in a rut and have little time to right the ship if they wish to make a sixth straight playoff appearance.
2. Philadelphia Flyers
Due to injuries, it’s hard to be too critical of the Flyers. Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds, currently sidelined, combined for 55 goals a season ago. That said, the Flyers aren’t in a great spot right now. They boast a 4-6-0 record and sit in the Atlantic Division’s cellar despite two wins in a row.
“It’s frustrating because everybody is working hard and everybody wants to win. We just couldn’t get ’er done, but like I said, it’s early in the season,” Claude Giroux told Philly.com.
3. Phil Kessel
Remember Kessel’s hot starts in recent years? He had 10 goals and 18 points in 11 October games last season. In 2010-11, he had seven goals in the first eight games. This season, the opposite has happened.
Kessel has found the back of the net exactly zero times through 10 games, his worst goal-scoring slump since the 2010-11 season. This slump is especially puzzling given he leads the league with 42 shots. A breakthrough from the Maple Leafs sniper can only help his team, who is on the cusp of playoff contention.
4. Henrik Lundqvist
Last season’s Vezina Trophy winner hasn’t been himself in his first eight starts of this young season. Lundqvist is 3-5-0 with a 2.83 GAA and .900 save percentage, a 180-degree difference from his consistently dominant performance in 2011-12. However, his slow start isn’t entirely his fault. On any given night he has either had to deal with an anemic offence or poor defensive play in front of him – or both. King Henrik will get it together soon enough.
5. Los Angeles Kings
The defending champs started the season 0-2-1 but have responded with a 3-1-1 stretch. Still, the Kings could be better – much better. The offensive woes have returned for Darryl Sutter and company, as they are tied for a league-worst 20 goals (albeit in eight games, less than five of six teams with 20 goals). It has also been a slow start for Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick, who has an .897 save percentage in eight starts.