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A Not-at-All-Great Eight

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Playing the blame game after a brutal loss

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This post will not be fun.

At best, this post will be cathartic and maybe a little informative.

But this post, it bears repeating, will not be fun.

As you know, the Washington Capitals suffered their ugliest loss of the season last night, an 8-4 drubbing at the hands of the Islanders. Just how bad was the Caps’ defense last night? Here’s a chart of their expected goals-against per sixty for each game so far this year:

via NatStatTrick

Yes, the y-axis is altered to make it look at bad as possible. But when you yield 25 percent more expected goals than your previous season-high, this is the treatment you get. In fairness, last night’s 3.54 xGA/60 at five-on-five is “only” the 49th-worst effort a team has put up so far this season (heck, it wasn’t even the worst xGA/60 last night... congrats, Sabres!), if that makes you feel any better:

data via NatStatTrick

The Caps allowed high-danger chances at their worst rate of the season, too, leading to this nightmare of a heat map:

via NatStatTrick

And now it’s time to name names. Why? Why not. (Also, because literally every Cap that got a sweater last night was on the ice for at least one goal-against!)

Below are the eight goals the Caps allowed, each accompanied by a poll asking you to identify which Cap was the most responsible for the goal (poll options are listed in order of jersey number, uh... just a coincidence, Brenden Dillon). To be sure, most of them were not the fault of just one man. Some might not even have been anyone’s “fault,” per se. But that’s not how scapegoating works.

Without further ado...

Poll

Which Cap is most responsible for the goal above?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Brenden Dillon
    (171 votes)
  • 12%
    Garnet Hathaway
    (31 votes)
  • 3%
    Nic Dowd
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Vitek Vanecek
    (4 votes)
  • 9%
    Carl Hagelin
    (25 votes)
  • 6%
    John Carlson
    (17 votes)
256 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Cap is most responsible for the goal above?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Brenden Dillon
    (39 votes)
  • 2%
    Nicklas Backstrom
    (7 votes)
  • 71%
    Zdeno Chara
    (174 votes)
  • 4%
    Vitek Vanecek
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    Tom Wilson
    (12 votes)
  • 0%
    Conor Sheary
    (1 vote)
244 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Cap is most responsible for the goal above?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Justin Schultz
    (31 votes)
  • 6%
    Alex Ovechkin
    (16 votes)
  • 69%
    Dmitry Orlov
    (159 votes)
  • 1%
    Ilya Samsonov
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    T.J. Oshie
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Evgeny Kuznetsov
    (18 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Cap is most responsible for the goal above?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Brenden Dillon
    (28 votes)
  • 21%
    Nicklas Backstrom
    (50 votes)
  • 55%
    Ilya Samsonov
    (128 votes)
  • 1%
    Tom Wilson
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Conor Sheary
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    John Carlson
    (15 votes)
229 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Cap is most responsible for the goal above?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Justin Schultz
    (21 votes)
  • 31%
    Nick Jensen
    (64 votes)
  • 2%
    Garnet Hathaway
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    Nic Dowd
    (5 votes)
  • 15%
    Ilya Samsonov
    (31 votes)
  • 36%
    Carl Hagelin
    (74 votes)
201 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Cap is most responsible for the goal above?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Nick Jensen
    (7 votes)
  • 16%
    Jakub Vrana
    (30 votes)
  • 21%
    Nicklas Backstrom
    (40 votes)
  • 4%
    Ilya Samsonov
    (9 votes)
  • 50%
    Zdeno Chara
    (94 votes)
  • 2%
    Tom Wilson
    (5 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Cap is most responsible for the goal above?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Brenden Dillon
    (45 votes)
  • 43%
    Nicklas Backstrom
    (74 votes)
  • 6%
    Ilya Samsonov
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    Tom Wilson
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Conor Sheary
    (1 vote)
  • 20%
    John Carlson
    (34 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which Cap is most responsible for the goal above?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Brenden Dillon
    (55 votes)
  • 4%
    Daniel Sprong
    (7 votes)
  • 10%
    Jakub Vrana
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    Lars Eller
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    Ilya Samsonov
    (15 votes)
  • 43%
    John Carlson
    (73 votes)
169 votes total Vote Now

And with that, let’s never speak of this game again.