clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sittin' at the End of the (Capitals) Bar

Somewhere between box cars and fancystats, we invite you to take a look at some numbers and trends for the Washington Capitals you might find useful to impress your friends.

Rob Carr

It’s a little known fact…

-- The Washington Capitals have taken more shots (10) with less success (no goals) than any team in the league at 5-on-3 this season. Over the last two seasons the Caps have one goal on 20 shots at 5-on-3. That 5.0 percent shooting percentage is worse than their shooting percentage while shorthanded (4-for-50; 8.0 percent).

-- At 5-on-5 the Caps are a mediocre possession team. Their Corsi-differential/60 minutes is -0.5, while their Fenwick-differential/60 is -2.6. Those measures are different ways of looking at differentials in shot attempts (Fenwick not including blocked shots). As for actual shots on goal, the differential is worse than either of the attempt measures. Shot differential/60 minutes at 5-on-5 is -3.8; only three teams have a worse one through Monday’s games.

-- Washington has had issues getting started in the first periods of games this season. Through Monday’s games, only five teams had fewer first period goals than the Caps. It turns out that only four teams had fewer first period power play opportunities than the Caps, too. Coincidence?

-- Through Monday’s games the average save percentage for goaltenders when defending the opponent’s power play was .878. Braden Holtby was a .916. Among goalies facing at least 50 shots against on the opponent’s power play, that save percentage was the fourth-best in the league. The flip side of that is that only four goalies faced more opponents’ shots on their power play.

-- Speaking of Holtby, no goalie has faced more overtime shots on goal with a perfect 1.000 save percentage. Holtby is 17-for-17 in overtime so far this season.

-- The Caps are third in the NHL in power play conversion rate (23.4 percent), but they are the most efficient team in one respect. The average time per power play for the Caps is 1:25. No team has spent less time per power play than the Caps, the St. Louis Blues being second in that respect (1:32).

-- The Caps have seven wins in regulation or overtime. While they are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, they are 24th in the league in non-shootout wins.

-- Consider this distant early warning. The old school train of thought is that in the playoffs you see fewer special teams opportunities. This puts a premium on 5-on-5 play. Well, so far this season the Caps have played in four games in which they skated more than 50 minutes at 5-on-5. In none of them did they win in the hockey portion of the contest. They are 1-2-1, the only win coming against Minnesota in the trick shot competition.

-- No player in the league spends more of his team’s power play time on ice than Alex Ovechkin. He has spent 94 percent of the Caps’ total power play time on ice, and is one of only three players to be out for more than 80 percent of his team’s power play time.

-- Over his last eight appearances Braden Holtby has a respectable .930 save percentage. That would be a top-ten save percentage for the season. However, his goals against average over those same eight appearances is 2.40. That is a top-20 goals against average. The difference is that in those last eight appearances he faced 34.7 shots per 60 minutes. That is roughly equal to the 34.0 shots per 60 minutes faced by Caps goalies so far this season. Here is the thing, though. In the eight seasons since the 2004-2005 lockout, no team has allowed as many shots per game as the Caps (34.6) and won a Stanley Cup. Five of the teams allowed fewer than 28 shots per game.

-- Holtby also has 10 wins in 19 appearances so far. If he keeps up that wins rate and appearances rate, he will finish the year with 34 wins in 65 appearances. If he does that he will jump into fourth place in wins by a goaltender in franchise history (71, one more than Pete Peeters and Jim Carey). Given he would do so in his second full season as the Caps number one goalie, it would be rather amazing.