RMNB had me on to do one of these a couple of weeks ago, so that is why there’s a large gap since the last one on here. Since then (@CAR – BUF) things are looking a little better. At least when you start digging down into the process. But then again, they damn well should be given the quality of their opponents. Carolina, Toronto, Columbus, and Buffalo aren’t exactly setting the league on fire. Unless you use that metaphor a bit more negatively.
Well, let’s see what’s trending up and what’s trending down. Again, if most things aren’t trending up after the tank fleet, there should be cause for concern – a lot of concern.
A bit of up and down since the Pittsburgh game. Thankfully the up came though, because the three games preceding the “up” were each the worst game of the season. So a pretty bad three game stretch (Flyers, Pens, Canes) there.
Thank god for the tanking teams. That possession trend is atrocious leading up to the Toronto game. The remaining schedule for the Caps won’t be as kind. Especially with 3 games coming up against their likely first round opponent – the Rangers. Those games should be telling, even if they’re missing Green and Nicky. I kind of wish I had the opportunity to watch more of the games during their possession slide, not because it would have been enjoyable, but because I could maybe have more insight into why they looked so terrible.
PDO & Percentages
There’s been a bit of separation between the total PDO and even strength lately. Something to indicate that maybe the Caps are getting a bit more lucky on special teams than during 5v5. Neither metric hints that they’ve actually been unlucky at all though – actually the opposite. At least the PDO bender came back down though without slapping the Caps out of a playoff spot. So, small miracles?
But on to the more telling percentages:
Well that discrepancy is definitely more noticeable here in the 10-game average shooting percentage. The even strength shooting percentage is almost 25% less than the total (10% reduced to 7.5%). Holtby is still a stud though, and quite impressive with PK numbers in the mix as well.
Special Teams: Summary
I never really have much to say on these plots. The special teams have been steadily climbing though, so that is good. Let’s look at each scenario more closely.
Special Teams: Power Play
Nothing but good stuff here. The only small negative is that there are less opportunities lately. But overall the trends on the power play are promising. There’s been a huge spike in blocks and misses though, I wonder if that is an artifact of having Carlson man the point. With that big boom in Corsi, the shots themselves haven’t recovered as much though. But they’re definitely moving in the right direction, and it’s not hurting the conversion rate either.
Special Teams: Penalty Kill
Nothing bad from the penalty kill, nothing really all that good either. I’ll disregard the dip in shots allowed because of the Buffalo game. I think Hershey’s power play unit could do a better job than the Sabres. The kill has been humming along around 85% effective (across a 10-game moving average) for the past 30 games, so I guess that’s something good. Maybe they’ve grasped the system and can settle into a 85% kill team, and couple that with their 25% power play, look out. That’s good.
Fenwick Percentage: Score State
I still really dislike that black line. And now the dark blue dashed line is joining in on the fun below the 50% line. It’s strange that the current 10-game averages in each state have a maximum separation from the others of less than 10%. And that’s the difference from the percent when leading by 2 or more goals vs the percent when leading by 1 goal. And the 2+ leading data is higher than all the other score states. So, let’s see the Caps have a 2+ goal lead all the time! Seriously though, I have nothing to infer from this, other than the 1 goal leading Caps from earlier in the season are making a comeback. Also – up is down, dogs and cats living together, etc.
Corsi Percentage: Score State
More of the same confusing trends. Except at least in Corsi, the Caps are better when they’re down in score…for now.
Fenwick Rates: Score State
I’m running out of things to say. Since there was really no discernible trend in the percentages the rates follow suit. Except there is a troublingly clear increase in the unblocked shot attempts the Caps are allowing when they have a 1 goal lead. Less noticeable with 2 goals though, so again, let’s just hope they can continue going up 2 on their opponents.
Corsi Rates: Score State
Same stuff, different name.
Well there are your Washington Capitals, 67 games in. 15 games left to go. Hopefully they can keep up their solid special teams play of late. But I’d trade a dip in that to correct some of their possession woes. There’s a lot more 5v5 play in the playoffs than special teams. Maybe the new guys can help out in the even strength possession department, but I wouldn’t count on it. It may take the remaining 15 games for the lines to jell and for the skaters to form any noticeable chemistry, given Barry’s penchant for shuffling lines. So, just in time for the playoffs.
Oh well, I’ll check in again in another 5 games or so and see how things are shaking out. After some tougher opposition.