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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Man, that Montreal game was a real low-event affair.
Corsi Rates: Score State
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.