Category Archives: Washington Capitals

Caps vs. Islanders #fancystats recap

The Caps lost to the Islanders in OT, 3-2. The Caps the 5-on-5 shot attempt battle, 57-38. That’s not good at all.

5-on-5 shot attempt chart:

islesfinal

-Tom Wilson led the Caps with a +4 on-ice shot attempt differential. Only two other players weren’t in the negative, Jack Hillen and Alex Ovechkin were even 0

-Troy Brouwer had the worst shot attempt differential at -14.

-Tom Wilson was on the ice for the most Caps shot attempts (20).

-Karl Alzner was on the ice for the most shot attempts against (23).

-Eric Fehr faced the toughest zone starts, starting 45.45% of shifts in the offensive zone

-Andre Burakovsky faced the easiest zone starts, starting 100% of shifts in the offensive zone. He also appeared to be benched for the last 10 minutes or so of regulation

-Nate Schmidt, possession monster, update: 87.5% ZS, -4 in shot attempts

Breaking down a Caps breakdown

The Avalanche goal to tie the game at 1 against the Caps on Thursday never should have happened. Here’s a look at the play and why the goal was avoidable.

breakdown1

The play starts as Daniel Briere (#48) carries the puck over the blue line with teammate Nathan MacKinnon (#29) on his left. The Caps seem in good shape, as Mike Green and Nate Schmidt are back and in good possession with Evgeny Kuznetsov arriving to provide backside pressure.

breakdown2

Next, you’ll see Briere throw a saucer pass into space for MacKinnon. MacKinnon has ridiculous speed and good hands, so this is a good decision by Briere. Schmidt goes for the pokecheck, but as you can see, the puck goes between his stick and his body. The puck is now headed into space to one of the best skaters in the league (MacKinnon) who gas nearly half the zone to work with and the defender marking him (Schmidt) leaning the wrong way. Not good, but not necessarily due to any defensive lapse.

breakdown3

Schmidt is in trouble here. This is more a case of getting burned by one of the best skaters in the league than a lapse or poor execution. Yes, he could have pivoted sooner in the second picture, instead of going for the puck, but that’s a decision I can live with. The red arrows are used to point out the guys that are really at fault here.

Mike Green, the right arrow, either needs to have already pivoted to try to help cover up for Schmidt or he needs to be paying very close attention to Briere. Instead, he just kind of hangs out and watches MacKinnon burn Schmidt without paying Briere much mind.

If Green kind of hangs out, Kuznetsov (the arrow on the left) completely and totally hangs out. Give him a beer and a sandwich, at least that way he can have refreshments while being a complete spectator. Kuznetsov should be marking Briere here.

(As an aside, this isn’t any sort of general indictment of Green or Kuznetsov. They were bad on this play, but I’m not suggesting anything broader than that.)

breakdown4

MacKinnon puts a backhander on net and Holtby makes a kick save. Green and Kuznetsov continue to be completely mesmerized by the puck, not seeming to have a care in the world that Briere is in the slot.

Holtby kicks out the rebound to the aforementioned slot (the one that Briere and a couple of spectators in Caps jerseys are occupying). This was pretty bad rebound control by Holtby, but it’s hard to put much blame on him for this goal. I think I remember reading a quote after the game where Holtby said he anticipated MacKinnon trying to go high with the shot, so he was caught off guard by the low shot. This resulted in him not controlling the rebound very well (AKA really badly). This is bound to happen if you let a player like MacKinnon this kind of opportunity.

breakdown5

Mike, Evgeny. Your “oh, crap” reaction here is appreciated, but it’s far too late. Briere, untouched and less than 10 feet out, has the entire right side of the net in which to deposit the puck at his leisure.

This was a bad goal. Schmidt, who I’d argue deserves the least blame of the 4 Caps involved, got burned by MacKinnon because he got caught leaning while going for a pokecheck. Holby could have controlled the rebound better, but those kind of things are going to happen over the course of a hockey game. What can’t happen is two guys being passengers on the play, seemingly mesmerized by the puck. Kuznetsov and Green are to blame for this goal.

By the way, the Caps went on to win 3-2 on an unbelievable goal by Alex Ovechkin.

Caps vs. Sabres #fancystats recap

The Caps lost to the FREAKING SABRES, 2-1. The Caps the 5-on-5 shot attempt battle, 67-39, which is really good. They essentially got Halak’d tonight. Seriously, look at the shot attempt chart.

5-on-5 shot attempt chart:

sabresfinal

 -If that isn’t enough #suck for you, the very fancy Mike Green got hurt tonight and didn’t return.

-Tom Wilson led the Caps with a FREAKING +26 on-ice shot attempt differential

-Jason Chimera and Joel Ward had the worst shot attempt differential at -3, somehow managing to lose the shot-attempt battle when they were on the ice. Impressive.

-Tom Wilson was on the ice for the most Caps shot attempts (34).

-John Carlson was on the ice for the most shot attempts against (18). But he was a +15 for the game.

-Ward and Chimera faced the toughest zone starts, starting just 27.77% of shifts in the offensive zone, which can partially explain their shot attempt differential. Bot come on, it’s the FREAKING SABRES.

-Wilson and Alex Ovechkin faced the easiest zone starts, starting 84.62% of shifts in the offensive zone

-Nate Schmidt, possession monster, update: Started 61,54 of shifts in the offensive zone, an even 0 in on-ice shot attempts

Three Caps Numbers: Episode Three

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.

Washington Capitals v Detroit Red Wings

Photo from NHL.com

Read the rest of this entry

Caps vs. Coyotes #fancystats recap

The Caps beat the Coyotes, 2-1 and are now 8-7-3. The Caps lost the 5-on-5 shot attempt battle, 29-32.

5-on-5 shot attempt chart:

coyotoesshotchart

 

-Troy Brouwer led the Caps with a +7 on-ice shot attempt differential

-Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson had the worst shot attempt differential at -8

-Brooks Orpik and John Carlson were on the ice for the most Caps shot attempts (15).

-John Carlson was on the ice for the most shot attempts against (17).

-Wilson faced the toughest zone starts, starting just 16.67% of shifts in the offensive zone. A further note on zone starts: It was just one game, so maybe an aberration, but what the heck is up with the first line deployment? Toughest zone starts on the team. Wilson at 16.67%, Ovi 28.57%, Backstrom 33.33%. No one else was below 57.14%. 8 Caps players were 80%+ zone starts. I don’t get that at all.

-Andre Burakovsky, Troy Brouwer, and Marcus Johansson faced the easiest zone starts, starting 87.50% of shifts in the offensive zone

-Nate Schmidt, possession monster, update:  80% of shifts started in the offensive zone, even 0 in shot attempt differential.

Caps Preview: Week 7

After a disappointing weekend of winless hockey, the Caps are looking to snap their two-game losing streak. Their record stands at 7-7-3 (17 points), good for fifth in the Metropolitan Division. After facing the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues, the Caps take on three of the League’s weaker teams.


11/18 at Arizona

The Caps last played the Coyotes on Nov. 2 and lost 6-5 in a wildly inconsistent game. The Coyotes haven’t had a magical turnaround since. They’re still pretty bad, with a 8-9-1 record (sixth in the Pacific Division.) Their possession leaves much to be desired (48.4 CF%, 23rd in the NHL).

The ‘Yotes are riding a two-game win streak after a 5-0 blowout of the Canucks and a narrow 2-1 win against the Oilers. Despite being outshot by a 35-23 and 34-28 margin in each contest, the ‘Yotes have enjoyed stellar goaltending from backup Devan Dubnyk. In their previous two wins, their power play and penalty kill clocked in at 25% and 85.7% respectively.

This game should be winnable (we said that last time, too.) First and foremost, the goaltending must be better, and the Caps need to regain their scoring touch. Moving Jay Beagle off the top line would be a good start. Recently, the Caps got a lot of good looks on the power play but couldn’t capitalize. They’ve scored two goals as many games, and both tallies came at even strength despite a handful of man-advantage opportunities. Even their 4-2 win over Columbus isn’t as dominating as the final score would appear. The Caps’ possession is (mostly) there, but it’s just not translating.

 

11/20 at Colorado

This week, the Caps have a trio of matchups against some of the NHL’s weaker teams. The Avalanche are among these teams. Their 6-8-5 record is stronger than their second-worst CF% numbers would indicate (with a Corsi-for percentage of 43.6%, the only thing stopping them from a league-worst ranking is the Buffalo Sabres.)

Yet the Avs are coming off two strong road wins against the Rangers and Devils. Their power play (17% success rate) is absolutely moribund, but their penalty kill is the NHL’s fourth best. Even with playing a disciplined game, the Avs haven’t allowed a power-play goal in two games (five total opportunities.)

The Caps will be facing a team with four days of rest time. But they can’t use a fresh opponent as an excuse for slow starts or lazy penalties. The Caps need to focus on shutting down the Avs’ many offensive talents, from Matt Duchene to Erik Johnson to Tyson Barrie to Nathan Mackinnon…and preferably with an improved “shutdown pair.” And let’s not forget Varly, who has a .918 SV%.

 

11/22 vs. Buffalo

The Caps and Sabres met three time last season, and the Sabres won each contest by a one-goal margin each time. Fortunately, Ryan Miller is now playing for the Canucks, so if the Caps can outshoot the NHL’s worst possession team (37.2 CF%), there’s no excuse not to win.

The Sabres have suffered through a number of blowout losses (three in this month alone), but dished out their first beatdown Saturday night against the Leafs. Shot totals were 35-34 Sabres, whose six goals came from five different players. Such offensive output is rare from the Sabres, who scored seven goals in four games at the start of November. Their power play is unsurprisingly in last place, at an incomprehensible 7%.

All signs point to the Caps winning this game, especially as Trotz adjusts lines to overcome the lack of offense. Without a brick wall to stop every shot, the Sabres look to be a conquerable opponent. With that being said, it’s possible that our old friend Neuvy might get the start–and his numbers look pretty solid (.918 SV% and 2.96 GAA.)

Caps vs. Devils #fancystats recap

The Caps lost to the Devils 1-0 and now have a record of 7-6-3. 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.

L vs. NJD Shot Chart

-The Caps lost the shot attempt battle, 36-34. In close-game situations (within 1 in the 1st 2 periods, tied in the 3rd), the Caps lost the shot attempt battle again, 33-26.

-Brooks Orpik had the best on-ice shot attempt differential at +5 (whoa)

-Karl Alzner had the worst shot attempt differential at -10.

-Mike Green was on the ice for the most Caps shot attempts (15).

-Alzner was on the ice for the most shot attempts against (18).

-Jay Beagle and Alex Ovechkin had the easiest zone starts, starting 88.89% of their shifts in the offensive zone.

-Joel Ward, Eric Fehr, and Jason Chimera had the toughest zone starts, starting 0% of their shifts in the offensive zone.

L vs. NJD Shift Chart

Caps vs. Blue Jackets #fancystats recap

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.

cbj3part2

-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!

Caps Preview: Week 6

The Caps didn’t suffer a regulation loss in Week 5 and enter Week 6 with a record of 6-5-3, which is good for 4th in the Metropolitan (that name still sucks) Division.

The Caps are facing some tough possession forwards this week, particularly over the weekend, which could spell trouble for the Caps’ “shutdown D.” Here’s a look at the 3 games for the week.

Orpik_5 copy

Photo by Amanda Bowen, RRGB Photography

11/11 vs. Columbus

The Blue Jackets have lost 8 in row and find themselves in the basement of the Metro (it sucks less when we call it that) Division with a record of 4-9-1. The Jackets have been decimated by injuries. This is a game the Caps should win. Columbus is ranked 24th in the league in unblocked shot attempts at 5-on-5, as just 47.89% of said attempts go in their favor.

The Blue Jackets combined shooting% and save% is 29th in the league, which indicates they have not been getting many breaks. Combine that with their poor play and it’s easy to see why they find themselves in the cellar. So, if the Jackets get a couple lucky bounces that results in some goals, start sacrificing something to the PDO gods during the game (PDO is the name of the stat that combines shooting% and save%) to try to get some bounces going in the Caps’ favor.

One player to watch is Ryan Johanson. The 22 year old ranks 12th in the league with 16 points despite missing most of training camp because of a contract dispute. He’s a stud.

11/14 vs. New Jersey

The Devils are currently 6-6-2, one point behind the Caps in the Metro. The Devils have been a so-so possession team, ranking 20th in the league with 49.42% of unblocked 5-on-5 shot attempts going in their favor. In terms of puck luck, the Devils combined shooting% and save% is 6th best in the league at 101.47. That’s not necessarily unsustainable, but they have received more bounces than the average team in the league, so they may have some bad bounces in their future. Hopefully Friday will be that day.

The Caps trounced the Devils 6-2 in their only meeting so far this season. As you already know, the Devils have a guy named Jagr who used to play for the Caps. He currently leads them with 9 points. He’s also the best relative possession forward in the entire NHL. He could, quite possibly, eat alive the Caps “shutdown” D pair of Orpik and Carlson.

11/15 at St. Louis

Facing one of the better teams in the NHL on the back end of a back-to-back isn’t ideal. If the Caps come out flat or get dead legs late in the game, the Blues will pounce. Their 53.78% of unblocked shot attempts is 6th best in the NHL. They rank 9th in puck luck with a PDO of 101.02.

Keep an eye on Vladimir Tarasenko. This guy is the real deal. He currently sits 9th in the league with 17 points. He’s also been the Blues best possession player so far this season.

Three Caps’ Numbers: Episode Two

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.

 

55.06%

55.06% is the percentage of all shot attempts that have gone in the Caps’ favor so far this season while Nate Schmidt has been on the ice during 5-on-5 play. This is really, really good. Of the 157 defensemen to have skated 140+ minutes so far this season, this ranks 23rd. Schmidt does benefit from playing on a strong possession team, but the Caps still see a 3.97% increase in shot attempts when Schmidt is on the ice, which is 37th best of the same group of 157 defenders.

Schmidt’s first 41 games in the NHL compare very favorably to the first 41 games of Mike Green, John Carlson, and Karl Alzner. The Caps should sign Nate Schmidt to an extension sooner rather than later.

Holts_1

Photo by Amanda Bowen, RRGB Photography

83.33%

This is the Caps shorthanded save percentage, which ranks 24th in the NHL. This has to get better. The Caps are suppressing shots much better than last year, but their penalty kill is going to continue to struggle if the goaltending doesn’t improve (it will). It currently sits at 77.1%, which is 23rd in the league. There’s no way the save% will stay that low, but the Caps are having the opposite issue of last season, in that their shot suppression is no longer the problem (6th best in the NHL at 4-on-5) and their goaltending is no longer their saving grace while on the penalty kill.

 28.66

This is the number of shots per 60 minutes allowed when Brooks Laich is on the ice during shorthanded situations. This leads the team and is awesome. This is also 25th among all NHL players who have played 6+ minutes on the PK this season. Yes, the sample-size is small, but the Caps have been great at supressing shots with him on the ice so far this year, so the Caps should be hoping he’s healthy and back on the PK as soon as possible. 

As always, thanks to War on Ice for all of the stats.

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