2014-2015 Season Recap

This will be my last post of this year. I haven’t made my code robust to the different OT format in the playoffs, plus, the data sets are too small to really draw any conclusions. As we reflect on the data obtained over the last 82 games I just wish I had taken the time to overlay last year’s data to the trends from this year. The differences would be striking, and I think it would help to put whatever happens in the playoffs in perspective.

For an appropriately hagiographic angle, I strongly recommend reading Peter’s post over on RMNB. There are a lot of positives to take away from this season.

Anyway, let’s get on to the data.

Playoff Pacing


There’s no real reason to include this, because we’ve known for a while that the Caps were in the playoffs. It’s just nice to look at the turning point from that Vancouver game.




The Caps won the possession battle for the most part in their last several games. That’s a nice trend, even if it is bringing the rolling data down a bit, but that’s more of an effect of some of the better possession performances getting pushed out of the subset.

PDO & Percentages



I think the PDO trends can tell us that the Caps are one of the teams that don’t necessarily rely on luck to surpass 100. It would appear they are a team that can drive the PDO with their strong goaltending, and their offensive talent among the forwards and defensive corps.



Well Holtby has slid a bit as we head into the playoffs. I sure hope it’s not fatigue, because if he can’t perform for even one game, that’s a big hole for this team. And the Isles are a fast team, that will likely keep Holtby busy. I really wouldn’t expect the Caps to run a 10% shooting percentage in the playoffs. Goals get a bit rarer for the most part, so Holtby’s going to need to keep them in the series.

Special Teams: Summary



You have to like the trend of the special teams index. Steadily climbing throughout the second half of the season. It would look like the systems are well understood by the whole team now, and that can only be a good thing.

Special Teams: Power Play





The Caps are not where you’d want them to be with the shot generation on the man-advantage. I’m curious if we’ll see some Mike Green back on the point for the first unit in the playoffs. They’re really going to need to make the Isles pay if they give them a power play. But, hey, maybe less shots is better for Halak? We all remember what 134 shots got them against Halak…

Special Teams: Penalty Kill





Well, at least the Caps are looking a bit more disciplined lately. Although, they better be, because if they continue their trend with allowing shots, they’re going to need Holtby to stand on his head.

Fenwick Percentage: Score State



Nothing to report here really.  No noticeable trends, but it is good to know that the Caps are closer to a 50% team for the whole season when up a goal. That was a pretty awful stat for a large portion of the season.

Corsi Percentage: Score State



There’s a bit more separation in Corsi when looking at tied vs leading by 1. Maybe they didn’t really do much different when up 1 after all, except block more shots.

Fenwick Rates: Score State





Presented without comment. And not in a snarky way. There’s just nothing I have left to say about these, except I hope they start shooting more while tied, i.e. the first period.

Corsi Rates: Score State





It’s a little strange that the Caps actually shoot more when tied vs when down 1.




So there you have it. Your 2014-2015 Washington Capitals. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for the playoffs, and for next season already.



Capital Trends Game 78

So, about that Ovechkin guy. I’ll consider it robbery if he doesn’t win the Hart again this year, and he certainly strengthened his case for another trophy with his performance last night against probably his toughest competition for the league MVP honors. If he doesn’t win it, I could probably rationalize it, but even with guys like Pierre LeBrun are singing his praises lately, you have to assume he’s got a legitimate shot, even though most media outlets are proclaiming it Price’s now. He should already be a lock for the Ted Lindsay/Lester Pearson award for outstanding player voted by the rest of the NHL players association. There seems to be a ton of reference for Ovi amongst skaters in the league right now.

Well enough about Ovi, for now. Let’s look at the Caps. They had a pretty successful March. It may not have felt like it, at least it didn’t to me, but they picked up quite a few points and had decent underlying numbers (Hi Buffalo!). Maybe next year I’ll add some graphic to the plots to separate months so it’s easier to break apart. But for now let’s make due with the same graphics as usual.

Playoff Pacing



Well the Caps haven’t locked up a playoff spot, but even if they lost the remainder of their games, Ottawa would need to go on one hell of tear. That 92 point pace as the playoff pace is typically just a number, it’s obviously not a certainty, because the Caps have 96 points now and they could still miss out if Ottawa were to close out the season without losing any points. There’s a lot of parity in the league this season for some reason. I’m curious if teams are more eager to tank to get a shot at the McEichel sweepstakes. Or if all the analytics hires from last summer are pushing phases in the rebuild cycle faster.



FenClose_bars_Game_78 YTD_possession_game_78 rolling_possession_game_78

Nothing bad here really, but nothing too good either. That Nashville game was the only game where the Caps were badly outshot. But they’re still trending above 52% which is definitely a good place to be. Even if it’s coming down lately.

PDO & Percentages


YTD_PDO_game_78 rolling_PDO_game_78

I can’t really say the Caps are getting too lucky or unlucky. The bounces are kind of even lately for them, but let’s see if either side is dragging the total down.


YTD_percentages_game_78 rolling_percentages_game_78

Well Holtby certainly hasn’t been his best lately. Maybe that’s a good thing – keep his price down a bit more this offseason? I’m probably just wishing here, but it would be nice if the front office can negotiate a solid deal that won’t handicap the team with respect to the salary cap. Even if Holtby is worth it. There has been a lot more offense and a lot less defense lately. Just a reminder that PDO doesn’t really tell a story on its own. I’d expect Holts to bounce back a bit, unless the work load of the entire season is starting to get to him. And the performance he turned in last night against Montreal certainly makes that look like a distinct possibility.

Special Teams: Summary


YTD_ST_game_78 rolling_ST_game_78

The Caps are still a deadly team on special teams. The 3/4 performance on the power play last night definitely helped. The STI has also seemed to be steadily climbing over the second half of the season. As they are now tops in the league in special teams index.

Special Teams: Power Play


YTD_PP_Performance_game_78 YTD_PP_Shots_game_78 rolling_PP_Performance_game_78 rolling_PP_Shots_game_78

The power play definitely seems to be doing the heavy lifting in buoying that STI to the top of the league. It’s surprising to see that a 3/4 performance tonight didn’t do more to push that rolling efficiency up some more. But that peak at around 42% might be skewing things a bit. That’s a wildly unsustainable number. The shots are coming crashing back down though. Maybe teams have scouted the unit with Carlson on the point more or he’s been advised to do something different? Because things are certainly in a troubling slide. The Caps are back to less than 2 shots per power play. And with the limited opportunities they have been getting, they’re going to need to make them count.

Special Teams: Penalty Kill


YTD_SH_Performance_game_78 YTD_SH_Shots_game_78 rolling_SH_Performance_game_78 rolling_SH_Shots_game_78

Penalty kill is humming along. Definitely an improvement over last year’s debacle. I’d like to see less PK opportunities, since the refs don’t like to give the Caps the same benefit of calls. I don’t think the save percentage is unreasonably high. Holtby has been pretty steady and hasn’t shown and signs of wavering.

Fenwick Percentage: Score State


YTD_fenwick_score_game_78 rolling_fenwick_score_game_78

No real trends to decipher here. Most states are at or above 50% over the last 10 games, which is definitely good. This tells me the Caps are playing pretty consistently regardless of score. That may not always be the case, but over the past 10 games there’s data to support that claim.

Corsi Percentage: Score State


YTD_corsi_score_game_78 rolling_corsi_score_game_78

Teh Corsis are doing similar things as teh Fenwicks. My only complaint would be to see a little more urgency when the Caps are down 1. Lately the data says they haven’t been exhibiting that urgency. Letting the opposition have the puck with the lead doesn’t seem like a great recipe for sustained success.

Fenwick Rates: Score State


YTD_fenwickfor_score_game_78 YTD_fenwickagainst_score_game_78 rolling_fenwickfor_score_game_78 rolling_fenwickagainst_score_game_78

Man, that Montreal game was a real low-event affair.

Corsi Rates: Score State


YTD_corsifor_score_game_78 YTD_corsiagainst_score_game_78 rolling_corsifor_score_game_78 rolling_corsiagainst_score_game_78

I don’t know. Ovi is good at hockey?




Ok well I don’t want to count chickens or put the horse before the cart, or do any other weird animal idioms, but the Caps making a playoff appearance is a pretty safe bet at this point. So I was thinking at the regular season finale, I’d try to add some more data and compare the Caps trends to their first round opponent. It may depend on time, but we’ll see.