20 games in the books and almost a quarter of the season’s worth of data to analyze. Let’s have a looksie under the hood.
Nothing is quite as sobering to a hockey fan as a regulation loss to the Buffalo Sabres. A team that is pushing the envelope in suckiness. The whipped cream on the shit sundae that is that loss, is that it capped the Sabres’ current three game winning streak. Which is coincidentally the longest winning streak the Caps have held this season (all of once). So, what I’m trying to say is that the optimism is gone. I’m not in full fledged titanic sinking mode, but there’s evidence out there to suggest that teams not in a playoff position come Thanksgiving, often don’t change their fortune.
Welp, onto the plots. Remember any observations or comments I make are strictly on the data presented in the graph discussed. Not making sweeping generalizations here.
As to be expected, when you don’t win the possession battle, your cumulative season possession drops. The 10-game rolling plot shows a much more troubling fall from greatness, down to just ok. Still better than last season though. And at least the Buffalo and Colorado games provided a nice spring board to get it going in the right direction.
Well, I bet no one predicted that Holtby would begin to bounce back to respectable levels like he’s shown capable of before. Weird, that. But seriously it is nice to see that save percentage coming back, and in a hurry too. The shooting percentage though should be no surprise, the forwards are still struggling to get the puck in the net.
These plots would lend evidence to the Caps doing something different during 5’s. I was hoping that the spike in shots against was due to the number of PKs they’ve been subjected to lately. But it would appear to be something with their even strength play. There are even stretches where they’ve been getting outshot by their opponents.
Special teams are still nothing to complain about. Especially the current state in the 10-game scheme of things. Seriously, a team with the possession metrics the Caps are sporting and an STI over 107% should be running away with a playoff spot. Alas, I said should, not are.
Power play still looks pretty solid on all fronts. Except for maybe opportunities. And I guess the shooting percentage is down a bit, but they’re still converting on nearly 1/4 of their opportunities. Which is certainly not what’s been ailing them.
Maybe I spoke too soon about how they’ve been subjected to quite a few PKs. They’ve actually been getting penalized less lately. They’re still penalized more than their opponents, but that can’t account for the unimpressive standings position. They’re still suppressing shots like crazy, and the goalies have been doing their part. 88% should be a solid shorthanded save percentage to maintain. That’s usually close to the league average for a season.
Man, they’ve really been taking their foot off the pedal when they have the lead lately. There hasn’t been a whole lot of qualifying TOI to swing that 2+ data (i.e. they haven’t been leading by 2 or more all that often), but the up 1 data is in a nosedive. Tied was looking pretty dire too, until they got to play the teams at the bottom of the possession boards. I guess to get a better idea of what’s really happening it could be useful to look at events for and against.
Well they certainly have been forsaking offense lately when leading on the scoreboard. In the past 10 games, they’ve dropped their Fenwick-For events per 60 by about 24%. That’s…not good. Let’s see if they’re at least decreasing the attempts against.
Uh…that’s a big nope. In fact, over the past few games they’ve been allowing shots more so than in the past. So, either they’re really bad at the defensive shell, or the other teams are just really motivated, or just spot the Caps a lead because they know they’ll be able to walk over them after they’re leading. That negative change in the possession also seems to stem mostly from the extra Fenwick events allowed against
I’m just going to throw all the same kind of plots for Corsi below without really commenting on them. They’re just there for your perusal.
And then just to look at 4 major aspects of the game in one plot:
So there you have it. Just about every bit of data you could want to look at. You got any ideas why the Caps are so mediocre? I’m having trouble discerning anything, other than their penchant for soul-crushing boners.