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The Caps lost to the Panthers 2-1 in a shootout that went 843 rounds and featured a ridiculous dangle by Brooks Orpik. What a weird night. The Panthers had more 5v5 shot attempts, 43-41.
5-on-5 shot attempt chart:
-The 5v5 sample from this game was just over 53 1/2 minutes.
-Eric Fehr led the Caps with a +7 on-ice shot attempt differential
-Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov had the worst shot attempt differential at -9. Linemate Troy Brouwer was just behind at -8. Time to break up the second line. Nothing doing there for too long.
-Further on that point, those 3 forwards had 1 total shot attempts between the 3 of them (Kuznetsov).
-Alex Ovechkin had the most individual shot attempts with 6
-Nate Schmidt, possession monster update: 50% ZS% an even 0 in on-ice shot attempts
-Mike Green’s turnover on Florida’s first goal is inexcuseable. But why was he so surpsied by the aggressive forecheck? It was as if none of his teammates hollered that he had pressure bearing down on him.
-Jason Chimera, scratched last game due to taking a dumb penalty that comes his team a game, returned to the lineup. He took a dumb penalty that negated a Jay Beagle breakaway.
-That shootout was, well, long. But, wow, that Orpik goal.
All stats from War on Ice
Photo by Amanda Bowen of RRBG Photography
According to Pierre LeBrun, Caps GM Brian MacLellan is looking to make some trades. The Caps have looked a bit stale lately, save for spurts of inspired and creative play such as the first 40 minutes in Saturday’s game against the Devils, so it’s not shocking the new GM may want to shake things up. Here are two players MacLellan likely will be asked about but shouldn’t trade.
Johnasson has already bested his goal totals from the two previous seasons with 9 goals through 25 games. Johansson has 8 even strength goals this season. He had 5 even strength goals in the last two seasons combined. I understand if people think that dealing Johansson now would be selling high.
I’m not convinced of that. I think that Johnasson very well may have taken a major step forward in his development and that the improvements in his play and production could be long lasting. While his shooting% (17.6%) is likely to come back closer to his career shooting% (12.8%), Johansson is going to continue to score at an improved rate because he is shooting the puck so much more.
As you can see, Johansson is shooting way more this season. In situations where he used to force passes, he is now firing pucks on net. As a result, he’s now putting close to 8 shots on per goal per 60 minutes of ice time. In the two previous seasons he averaged about four per 60 minutes of ice time.
In terms of shots per game this season, Johannson is averaging 2.04 shots. If he were to maintain this over an 82 game season, he would have 167 shots on goal, shattering his previous career high of 107 he set last season. If, Johansson were to pump 167 shots on net in a season and shoot at his career average of 12.8%, he would score 21 goals, which crushes his career high of 14 set in 2011-12.
Marcus Johansson is finally producing like a legitimate top-6 player. It would be a mistake to trade him. Instead, the Caps should look to extend him, as he is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Mike Green is an elite NHL defenseman and the Caps are a better team with him than without him. He can make glaring defensive mistakes at times, but you’re wrong if you think this makes him a bad player.
Here’s a chart Peter from RMNB made that was used in one of my posts on that site that shows Green has consistently made the Caps a better team when he’s on the ice.
As you can see, 2012 was the only season when Green didn’t help the Caps possession. Other than 2012, the Green has made the Caps a much better team when he’s on the ice. For a more in-depth look at why Green is irrefutably awesome, check out this article I wrote about him over on RMNB.
I understand he’s injury-prone and that his salary demands could be tricky for a team up against the cap. But the Caps will be better off if they find a way to keep Mike Green.
In my next post, I’ll look at two players the Caps should trade, which can help free up some of the cap space needed to keep Mike Green.
This wasn’t the best weekend of hockey for the Caps. They dropped both games and didn’t look particularly great in either one. There was one shift in particular against New Jersey that was especially bad, quite possibly the worst shift of the Caps season.
At the 2:29 mark of the second period, the Devils brought the puck into the Caps zone. The puck wouldn’t leave the zone for another 1:11, in which time the Devils piled up 10 shots attempts.
J.P. noticed it. I noticed it. We all noticed it. It was possibly the worst shift of the season for the Caps and it somehow didn’t end up in the back of their net. There were two bad decisions that during the 1:11 in the Caps zone that prolonged the terrible shift.
Above is 3 seconds after the Devils entered the zone, already with one shot attempt. The puck comes around the boards to Troy Brouwer whose momentum is carrying him towards the goal line. Brouwer’s best decision here, given his momentum, not having the puck completely corralled, and the pressure coming from his right, would be to poke the puck behind the net where Matt Niskanen could gather the puck in. Given the direction of the momentum of the two Devils’ skaters down low in the zone, Niskanen would have more time than Brouwer to fully gain control of the puck. Worst case scenario, Niskanen could bang the puck around the boards.
Instead, Brouwer tries to take the puck behind the goal line himself and is stripped of the puck, as you can see below.
The Caps did not regain possession for another 53 seconds, during which time the Devils generated 6 shot attempts. Despite the fact that he had a better option, the turnover by Brouwer wasn’t especially egregious, but it sure was costly in terms of shot attempts and time in the defensive zone.
53 seconds later Niskanen, who is exhausted, gets the puck behind the net.
Plenty of time to get the puck out, right? Wrong. Niskanen struggles to get control of the puck and then seems bewildered, probably from exhaustion, when he does get the puck cleanly on his stick. As a result, the above turns into the picture below.
So while a bouncing puck and exhaustion make it understandable that Niskanen muffled the clearing attempt (these kind of things happen over the course of 82 games), his approach was questionable from the time he got the puck. He seems intent on pushing the puck along to Andre Burakovsky, but given the impending and then eventual pressure of the Devils’ forechecker, the safer and smarter play would have been to throw the puck behind the net, where Karl Alzner would have had approximately all day to get the breakout started and the Caps headed towards a much needed line change.
Andre Burakovsky could have been more helpful to Niskanen but chose to remain on the half-wall, likely because he was in need of oxygen and water.
13 seconds and 3 additional shot attempts later, a rebound goes to the high slot, where Marcus Johansson gathers in the puck and exits the zone, thus bringing to an end the worst shift of the Caps season.
The Caps lost to the Blues
3-1 4-1 and now have a record of 7-7-3. Here’s a look at some #fancystats from the game. First the 5-on-5 shot attempt chart, followed by some more 5-on-5 numbers.
-The Caps lost the shot attempt battle, 49-44.
-Mike Green had the best on-ice shot attempt differential at +9
-Brooks Orpik had the worst shot attempt differential at -12.
-Mike Green was on the ice for the most Caps shot attempts (19).
-Brooks Orpik was on the ice for the most shot attempts against (22).
-Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin had the easiest zone starts, starting 88.89% of their shifts in the offensive zone.
-Eric Fehr had the toughest zone starts, starting 25% of his shifts in the offensive zone.
The Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-2 and now have a record of 7-5-3. Here’s a look at some #fancystats from the game. First the 5-on-5 shot attempt chart, followed by some more 5-on-5 numbers.
-The Caps lost the shot attempt battle, 46-35. In close-game situations (within 1 in the 1st 2 periods, tied in the 3rd), the Caps won the shot attempt battle 10-9.
-Nate Schmidt had the best on-ice shot attempt differential at +8 (duh).
-Brooks Orpik and Jason Chimera had the worst shot attempt differential at -10.
-Schmidt, Green, Johansson, Niskanen, and Alzner were on the ice for the most Caps shot attempts (14).
-Alzner was on the ice for the most shot attempts against (22).
-Johansson, Brouwer, and Burakovksy had the easiest zone starts, starting 100% of their shifts in the offensive zone.
-O’Brien and Latta had the toughest zone starts, starting 28.5% of their shifts in the offensive zone.
-By the way, Nate Schmidt had the toughest zone starts of any Caps D, starting just 37.5% of his shifts in the offensive zone.
CAPS WIN! HAVE A GOOD NIGHT!
Editor’s Note: This is a new column in which we will look at 3 Caps-related numbers or stats with a brief commentary on each number. As always, if you have questions or feedback, feel free to let us know in the comment or on Twitter. Thanks for reading.
Our first number, 97.75, represents the Caps PDO through the first 12 games of the 2014-15 season. For those who are unfamiliar with PDO, it is the found by combining a team’s 5-0n-5 shooting percentage and save percentage. In short, it regresses towards 100. So, a team with a PDO below 100 is thought to be getting bad “puck luck” while a team with a PDO above 100 is thought to be getting the good bounces. (For those who want a more nuanced definition of PDO, here’s a great article.)
So, why is this number significant? The Caps’ current PDO of 97.75 is the lowest of any regular season PDO on record for the team since 2002. This isn’t to say that the team hasn’t had 12 game stretches like this. But it does say that if this “puck luck” continues for the Caps, we would be able to call this the unluckiest Caps team on record.
Yes, this team has had some defensive lapses. And maybe we need our goalies to come up with some bigger saves. But the Caps will see better results simply by continuing to do the same things they are doing. Their puck luck will change. I’d be willing to bet a large sum of money or drinks on the fact that the Caps PDO will be above 97.75 at the end of the season.
Photo by Amanda Bowen, RRGB Photography
The number of shots per game Marcus Johansson is averaging so far this season. This is up from a career mark of 1.29 shots per game. This would lead to 44 more shots over an 82 game stretch. If Johansson were to shoot his career mark of 12.7%, this would mean 5.58 more goals per 82 games for him. This is not insignificant. We are talking 5-6 more goals per 82 games from #90 by doing nothing else but continuing to shoot the puck more. If Johansson keeps his current shot per game pace, without shooting any more accurately, and plays in 82 games, he will have 18 goals this season, which is great for a guy with a previous career high of 14. KEEP SHOOTING MARCUS!
Points per 60 minutes of PP time for Evgeny Kuznetsov. This not only leads all Caps forwards, but is 8th among all NHL forwards who have 13+ minutes of PP time so far this season. Small sample, sure, but if he can keep up a pace anywhere near this, the Caps PP will be relentless this season, with two high octane units.
The Caps lost to the Flames in OT by a score of 4-3 and now have a record of 4-5-3
5-on-5 shot chart
-5-on-5 shot attempts were in favor of the Caps, 56-43.. Close-game shot attempts favored the Caps 42-29,
-Caps W-L on faceoffs 33-26: Latta 13-6, Backstrom 8-5, Kuznetsov 6-6, Burakovsky 3-4, Ward 2-2, Wilson 1-2, Brouwer 0-1.
-The Caps best CorsiRel player was Latta at +27.70%
-The Caps worst CorsiRel player was a tie between Kuznetov and Brouwer at -19.67%
-Backstrom was on the ice for the most Caps shot attempts (22).
-Orpik was on the ice for the most shot attempts against (16).
-The toughest zone starts went to Nate Schmidt at 25% ZS
-The easiest zone starts went to Wilson and Green at 88.89% ZS
-Nate Schmidt, possession monster update: ZS%, CorsiRel -3.03%
Thanks to War on Ice, where all these stats were pulled from.
With a 4-5-2 record, there are plenty of concerns over the Caps’ ability to perform for the remainder of the season, never mind the playoffs. But we’re also entering the fifth week of an 82-game season, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that the Caps will turn things around with time.
They’ve got three opportunities this week to tighten up their defense and improve goaltending: two home games against Calgary and Carolina and a trip to Chicago (not in that order.) Playing a varied set of opponents will serve as good benchmarks.
11/4 vs. Calgary
Despite an appallingly poor Corsi-for percentage of 43.2%, the Flames have managed to remain afloat in the super-competitive Pacific Division. Their 16 points are good for third among division rivals, beating out the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. (At the time of writing, the Ducks lead with 20 points, while the Canucks follow with 16. The Flames have eight wins; the Canucks have seven.)
But the Flames are also enjoying a PDO of 103.4, third in the League. They’ll return to reality soon enough–after all, they beat the mighty Habs 6-2 Sunday night. Much of the Flames’ success should be credited to Jonas Hiller, who boasts a .938 save percentage and one shutout in eight games played.
The Flames also have one of the NHL’s best pairings in TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano, who are capable of shutting down the opposition and bringing an offensive punch. They lead the Flames with 12 and 11 points respectively. Young forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan aren’t far behind, with each tallying seven points.
With a mix of offensively talented defensemen and forwards, the Flames can produce goals from a number of players, thus making them a trickier team to defend. Their special teams aren’t particularly threatening, with a power-play success rate of 20% (12th in the League) and penalty kill success rate of 75.7% (24th in the League.) The Caps should always strive to stay out of the box, but facing one of the NHL’s better power plays will allow their PK to rebound from its dismal 78.6% success rate, good for 20th overall.
The teams last met in October, when the Caps won 3-1 and outshot the Flames 30-21. The win was the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal road trip, and with a four-game losing streak looking to be snapped, a victory couldn’t be timed more perfectly.
11/7 @ Chicago
It should go without saying that the Blackhawks are a formidable opponent, despite their fifth-place ranking in the Central Division. (It is the Western Conference, after all.) The Hawks are currently the NHL’s best Corsi team by a significant margin: their Corsi-for comes in at 57%, with second-place Minnesota at 55.8%.
With a roster reminiscent of All-Star games, Blackhawks are aiming to end their two-game losing streak. They lost 3-2 to Toronto, a game that was stolen by James Reimer’s superb goaltending (the Blackhawks outshot the Leafs 47-27.) Their second defeat, in which they fell 1-0 to Winnipeg, was another demonstration of the Blackhawks’ possession prowess. Having outshot the Jets 33-27, the game was their second shutout loss of the season.
With a Tuesday night away game scheduled against the Habs, the Blackhawks will be taking on one of the NHL’s top teams. Their special teams are a mixed bag: the power play is a lackluster 18.4% (17th overall), but the penalty kill is ranked third at 91.9%. Regardless of the opponent, the Caps shouldn’t count on the power play as a major source of offense. This is imperative against the stingy Blackhawks, who will capitalize on the slightest defensive miscue. If the Caps play to their potential, they can definitely stay with–if not beat–the Blackhawks.
11/8 vs. Carolina
The Hurricanes have garnered plenty of headlines this season–nearly all of them negative, and nearly all of them pertaining to their winless October. Their six points are lowest in the League, and they’ve compiled a 2-6-2 record thus far. Yet they beat the Kings 3-2, matching them in shots (32-32.)
Some of the ‘Canes best players have struggled, and this is reflected in the team’s play. Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner (both of whom were injured in October; the latter by a Niskanen hit) have yet to deliver much of an impact. The same can be said of Alex Semin, who was a healthy scratch against the Kings. The three forwards have racked up eight points total, a number that’s been affected by the aforementioned injuries.
Given the Hurricanes’ poor quality of play, it’s hard to imagine that their Corsi-for is 15th in the League at 50.8%. This is tied with the Kings and easily surpasses teams like the Ducks and Sharks–and the injury-decimated Blue Jackets, who the Canes face in a home-and-home before taking on the Caps Saturday night.
On the surface, the game looks like an easy win. The Hurricanes have no singular strength that must be addressed, saved for their eighth-ranked power play (21.9% efficiency.) The penalty kill is 18th overall at 80%, and could allow the Caps to exercise their firepower on the man advantage.
Then again, the same was said when the Caps played the Coyotes. By this point in time, the Caps should have cleaned up their defensive zone play and cut back on turnovers to hopefully earn four of a possible six points by week’s end.
The Caps dropped their third straight to the Lightning, 4-3. Their record is now 4-4-2.
5-on-5 Shot Attempt Chart:
-Shot attempts at 5-on-5 were 38-28 Caps. Close game shot attempts were 32-29 Caps.
-W-L on faceoffs, 24-20 Tampa. Backstrom 7-10, Brouwer 1-0, Burakovsky 4-5, Chimera 0-1, Kuznetsov 4-5, Latta 4-2, Ward 1-1.
-The Caps’ best CorsiRel player was Mike Green at +25.47%
-The Caps worst CorsiRel player was Karl Alzner at -31.54%
-Mike Green was on the ice for the most Caps shot attempts (23).
-John Carlson was on the ice for the most shot attempts against (17).
-The toughest ZS% went to Chimera (40%), followed by Kuznetsov and Fehr (50%).
-Three Caps had 100% ZS%: Beagle, Latta, and Wilson.
-Nate Schmidt, possession monster update: 62.5% ZS, +12.96CorsiRel.
Thanks, as always, to War on Ice for stats and graphs.
My family, led by my Mom, puts on an annual bingo event to support Team Fox for Parkinson’s research. My Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years ago and has since put an amazing amount of energy into raising money for Team Fox. This year, we reached out to the Caps to donate an item for the bingo. They completely blew us away by donating a jersey autographed by the 2013-14 team. Yes, it comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Here’s a couple pictures of the jersey and the certificate
How can you win this? Well, you can purchase raffle tickets from us by contacting us at brookslaichyear AT gmail. Tickets cost $10 per chance. There is no limit as to how many you can buy. We will then email you back with contact information so you can enter this great raffle.
100% of the money raised from this raffle goes to Team Fox. The raffle will be held at the bingo on September 27th, but you do not need to be present to win. However, if you’d like to attend the bingo, you can find event info here.