Throughout his tenure as Washington Capitals head coach, Dale Hunter has lived by a “one game at a time” motto regarding everything from personnel decisions to basic game planning. When discussing the Caps’ lack of winning streaks under his watch Friday, Hunter stuck to his convictions.
“There’s two points [Saturday] and that’s what I worry about,” Hunter said matter-of-factly.
Washington earned those two points Saturday in a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins, giving them just their fifth win streak (in this case, two or more consecutive wins) since Hunter replaced Bruce Boudreau November 28. Winning streaks have been few and far between for Hunter’s Caps, which is peculiar considering their propensity to ride positive momentum before his arrival:
- Eight of Hunter’s 22 wins as head coach have been singular wins (wins preceded and followed by losses). Under Boudreau, the Caps only won 19 singular games out of 201 total wins (90.5 percent of Boudreau’s career Washington wins came via win streaks).
- Those previously mentioned eight singular wins that Hunter has are already more than the most that Boudreau had during his four-year stint as head coach (2007-08, when 30 of Boudreau’s 37 wins were through win streaks; he had no more than four singular wins in any remaining season).
- Hunter’s longest streak without consecutive wins this season has been 19 games (January 17-February 25). Boudreau’s longest such streak was 10 games (December 1-December 21, 2010, better known as the eight-game losing streak that paralleled the Caps’ appearance on HBO’s “24/7 Penguins Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic”).
- The longest winning streak that the Caps have had under Hunter is four games (December 28, 2011 – January 3, 2012). Boudreau had 16-career win streaks of four or more games with Washington.
One trend that Hunter can extend – and one that the Caps need to extend – is the team’s recent success in March. Entering this season, Washington is 36-13-7 in March since 2007-08 (twice was March the Caps’ winningest month: 2008 and 2011). An old adage states that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. After winning two straight after starting the month with straight losses, perhaps the Caps can reverse that.