Capital Trends Game 46

So it’s the all star break, and there’s limited Caps’ coverage, because there’s limited Caps’ representation at Columbus. Which is a damn shame. So I’ll give a little coverage and update the plots with the most recent data. Things have cooled off for the Caps recently and they lost a little ground in the standings with their little skid prior to the ASG. Couple that with the tear the damn Rangers are on still and the Caps could find themselves in trouble in the future. Well they’ll be in trouble if they hope to still be playing in April.




They’re still looking likely to get into the playoffs if they can maintain the level of success  they’ve had up to this point for another 36 games. And that should be doable without any significant injuries or overcorrections, i.e. keep doing what they’re doing.

FenClose_bars_Game_46 YTD_possession_game_46 rolling_possession_game_46

At least possession is on the upswing. And that is encouraging. The Dallas game was a little rough. But that was also the second of a back-to-back. Also, it’s worth noting that the teams they’re running the possession up on aren’t the best in that regard. Nashville is certainly respectable. But, Philly, Edmonton, and Colorado are pretty bad in teh corsis. Oh well, at least they did what they were supposed to in that sense against “inferior” teams.

YTD_PDO_game_46 rolling_PDO_game_46

We all should have known a PDO crash would be coming soon. Even strength especially. I’m not saying they were unlucky in their losses (or wins even). But those extremely volatile percentages always seem to balance out. On a positive note, even though the Caps’ PDO crashed hard, they still saw themselves earn 5 out of 10 possible points over the last five games (corresponding to that sharp drop in ES PDO).

YTD_percentages_game_46 rolling_percentages_game_46

Both even strength shooting and save percentages have come down considerably over the last 5 games. I don’t want to blame the worst of the save percentage drop on Peters, but it does correspond with his start in Dallas. Granted the team didn’t do much to help him out in that game. Really would be nice the Caps didn’t seem to have so many back-to-backs on their schedule.

YTD_shots_game_46 YTD_ES_shots_game_46 rolling_shots_game_46 rolling_ES_shots_game_46

Not a fan of this data still. Strange that with the boost in possession, we’re not seeing a similar effect here. I wonder if the Caps aren’t as efficient with their shot attempts, e.g. more of them are missing or being blocked. Thankfully the Caps were a pretty elite team in outshooting their opponents earlier in the season and built up a nice cushion so we can still say over the course of the season they’re outshooting their opponent.

YTD_ST_game_46 rolling_ST_game_46

This one was actually a little surprising to me. I hadn’t really noticed the very apparent improvement on the special teams. Let’s take a closer look at both the power play and the penalty kill.

YTD_PP_Performance_game_46 YTD_PP_Shots_game_46 rolling_PP_Performance_game_46 rolling_PP_Shots_game_46

Well the Caps are getting even less power plays, but they’re generating more shots and shooting more efficiently lately. These are good things to see. But I gotta wonder why the zebras are swallowing their whistles so much for the Capitals.

YTD_SH_Performance_game_46 YTD_SH_Shots_game_46 rolling_SH_Performance_game_46 rolling_SH_Shots_game_46

Well the opponents are getting called a little less than they have been prior to the past 10 games, but the Caps are still getting about 1.5 less penalties called in their favor per game. At least their also limiting shots a bit more so, granted they’re doing so by blocking tons of shots apparently. This is definitely good. Couple that with a consistent shorthanded goalie and they can get their often criticized penalty kill to a more respectable status.

Now I did update my code so empty net data is no longer included, so the following score scenario data is a little more insightful.

YTD_fenwick_score_game_46 rolling_fenwick_score_game_46

Yay! The Caps aren’t horrid with a 1 goal lead anymore (relatively). They’re improving over the last several games when they have the lead and that’s good. They’re also looking much better when tied. But for some reason they’re not as dominant when trailing as they have been in the past. (These are all comments made by looking at the 10-game rolling data).

YTD_corsi_score_game_46 rolling_corsi_score_game_46

We can see the same trends with the Corsi metric too. So that’s good. But how are they doing in terms of event quantity, not percentage?

YTD_fenwickfor_score_game_46 YTD_fenwickagainst_score_game_46 rolling_fenwickfor_score_game_46 rolling_fenwickagainst_score_game_46

The Caps seem to be limiting the opponents attempts a bit more lately. Even when they have a lead. That is a very encouraging sign. And when tied, both the events for and events against are heading in the right direction. I hope they can keep up these kinds of trends once they return to the ice.

YTD_corsifor_score_game_46 YTD_corsiagainst_score_game_46 rolling_corsifor_score_game_46 rolling_corsiagainst_score_game_46

More data if you like Corsi over Fenwick.


I can never put a bead on the Caps and how they do things. When the points are piling up the possession is slipping, but when the points are falling, the possession is climbing. Oh well, Caps gonna Caps.

I’ll take another look at things in another couple games.



Capital Trends Game 41

Alright, here we are at the halfway mark of the season. The Caps are firmly in playoff position currently, and if they were to clean up a few areas of their game, they could even make some noise in the playoffs. They may need to clean up a few ares of their game though if they want to hold their playoff spot. The Rangers, Blue Jackets, Panthers, and Bruins are all making things look uneasy, despite the Caps’ current hot streak.

First though, how the hell does Nicklas Backstrom have 0 all star game appearances? I would love to hear the argument made that he is not one of the best 10 centers in the league. I may not really care about the game or the result or even who is really selected. I just feel bad for Nicky, even though I’m sure he doesn’t care.


Well, that’s nice. Haven’t seen that kind of point pace in quite some time. They’ve been giving themselves some breathing room, but as I mentioned above, the Eastern Conference has a lot of teams playing really well right now. Things will be competitive once the Caps’ cool down.

FenClose_bars_Game_41 YTD_possession_game_41rolling_possession_game_41

The Caps are settling into what looks like their long term possession percentage, around 52.5% in just about all metrics. This is clearly leaps and bounds better than the goat rodeo of the last two seasons, but not quite as great as we all may have hoped. Or even as great as they could do with a few minor changes. Things like keeping Nate Schmidt in the lineup, and Burakovsky, and even Latta. Chimera could probably use some nacho time. And Latta and Wilson seem to have good chemistry on the ice (off the ice too if you watched the road to the winter classic). Simple things like lineup tweaks, and altering deployment patterns could make this team dangerous.

A side note about the possession data: I noticed a bug in my code that I haven’t corrected yet. I never realized NHL’s play by play data doesn’t differentiate between even strength and empty net data. So some of the data can be goosed a bit by empty net data when the leading team is just trying to weather an offensive onslaught from the trailing team.

Man this PDO bender is great…for now. It will come back down, understand that now. And try to not overreact when the Caps hit a small skid. But let’s take a look at what might be more likely to crash first.

It upsets me to say it, but I’m thinking Holtby might cool off a bit. He’s been playing phenomenally, and he’s definitely a good, if not great, goalie. But I’m not sure if he’ll continue to stop 19 out of every 20 even strength shots. At least not over the course of the rest of the season. He may have a few more nice stretches and move his season cumulative numbers up, but in the 10-game rolling data will probably see a bit of a drop next post. Especially if he doesn’t get some rest here soon.
YTD_ES_shots_game_41 rolling_shots_game_41 rolling_ES_shots_game_41

The graphs above illustrate a serious problem, and how a PDO bender like the Caps are on currently can mask this problem. The Caps really need to start shooting more. If things continue like this, the Caps will be back to a team that is outshot regularly. And teams that are outshot regularly don’t often see the playoffs, and if they do, they don’t see success.

YTD_ST_game_41 rolling_ST_game_41

I don’t really have anything to add to the special teams plots above. Nice to see them continue their good performance in high leverage situations. And they’re not doing so with lucky bounces.

YTD_PP_Performance_game_41 YTD_PP_Shots_game_41 rolling_PP_Performance_game_41 rolling_PP_Shots_game_41

Well, they’re starting to correct their little power play skid, but they’re not doing so by creating lots of shots. In fact something is contributing to a troublesome trend that is persisting for several games. They’re also starting to get less calls. I really don’t know what’s causing this. I really don’t believe it’s the return of Mike Green to the PP1 QB spot. We’ve all seen how deadly that unit can be. So either, teams are starting to figure out the Caps’ systems, or Forsythe, or someone else behind the bench has instructed the boys in red to do something different. 
YTD_SH_Shots_game_41 rolling_SH_Performance_game_41 rolling_SH_Shots_game_41

Not sure I like what’s going on with the penalty kill either. The shots allowed are continuing to stay well above what they were 11-12 games ago. And if they continue to allow 21 shots per 20 minutes of shorthanded ice time, vs the 15 they were allowing prior, they’ll be permitting the opponent a little less than 3 shots more per game if continue to give them 4.5 opportunities per game. I’d like to see the Caps limit the parade to the penalty box a bit, and to revert whatever change they made due to what I’m guessing was an overreaction to a few bad shorthanded performances.
rolling_fenwick_score_game_41YTD_corsi_score_game_41 rolling_corsi_score_game_41YTD_fenwickfor_score_game_41 YTD_fenwickagainst_score_game_41rolling_fenwickfor_score_game_41 rolling_fenwickagainst_score_game_41YTD_corsifor_score_game_41 YTD_corsiagainst_score_game_41 rolling_corsifor_score_game_41 rolling_corsiagainst_score_game_41

Feel free to look over the above plots and draw your own conclusions. I’m wary to since I haven’t corrected the inclusion of empty net data.


And finally, the point pace trace is pretty, but I’d rather see that coincide with improving, or at least consistent possession scores. Oh well, I need to continue to remind myself just how horrid this team looked last year in some of these same stats. It’s hard to though, because I’m starting to think I involuntarily tried to black those games out of my memory.

Well that’s all for now. Until next time (when I’ll have hopefully corrected the empty net bug).