The Big Four are reunited, Ovie's scoring again and Vokoun has finally remembered how to play goalie, and yet there remains that one glaring inadequacy: defense. I went back to take a look at the shot totals from the last four games, and there are some interesting realities that are laid bare.
Caps are getting badly outshot in the last 40 minutes, and opposing goalie save percentages are far below the league's worst mark...
The Caps have done well in the shot department in the 1st period over those four games, outgunning their opponents to the tune of 36-27 over the first 20 minutes. However, the last 40 has been pretty damn ugly: Caps' opponents 87, Caps 55 (47-33 in 2nd, 40-22 in 3rd).
A look at the save percentages for the goalies involved is fairly unnerving: Vokoun has saved 109 of 114 shots for a .956 save%, a solid 11 points higher than the current NHL leader in that category, Tuukka Rask (.945). Meanwhile, opposing Caps goalies over the past four games (Mason, Miller, Kiprusoff, Biron) have stopped just 77 of 91 of the Caps' shots, which comes out to an .846 save%. Now granted, two of those guys are near the bottom of the league in save%, but the worst save% in the league is Roloson at .882. Surely, these kinds of figures aren't sustainable, even against bad goalies.
Having watched every bit of all four games, I wouldn't say the Caps are playing poorly, but the discussion on the Noon Number today is right on the mark: those cracks in the defense are there, and the team has been fortunate of late. The point is, Dale Hunter needs to figure out a way to reduce that shot discrepancy, and soon, or these kinds of win streaks are going to be few and far between.