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.


Capital Trends Game 72

10 games remaining in the season. That means probably another two of these posts checking in on how the Caps are performing, and investigating if there are any troubling patterns in the recent play. With a difficult remaining schedule, the next 10 games might be very telling of what to expect out of this team in the playoffs (provided they make it). Most of the remaining opposition are playoff-bound teams, and there’s that weird thing about the playoffs, where you’re going to play good teams.

Let’s get to it.

Playoff Pacing


Almost exactly where they were 5 games ago. Just a touch above a 100 point pace. They should definitely be in the playoffs with 100 points. They were able to tread water over the last 5 games, despite some decent opposition. The Rangers, Bruins, and the Wild are some tough teams, and the Stars are better than their record would indicate, I believe. Obviously Buffalo isn’t a good team this year – and fortunately for the Caps. That game would have been a loss if it were any other team given the Caps’ performance in that game.



FenClose_bars_Game_72 YTD_possession_game_72


Possession is swinging up quickly over the last 3 games. And that’s even with 2 out of 3 teams in the top half of score adjusted possession. Winnipeg should be a good test tonight. If Nate Schmidt can convince Barry to stay in the lineup that too should boost the possession numbers in the coming games. I would like to see Kuzya with some more skill on his line though, he seems to be playing really well lately and could probably serve the Caps better if he were skating with someone not hindering him (spoiler: I’m talking about Brouwer, not Glenncross – I have nothing but good things to say about that guy right now).


PDO & Percentages

YTD_PDO_game_72 rolling_PDO_game_72

Ho-hum here. As usual, PDO doesn’t really tell us much. Caps are still maintaining an above average PDO – but I’ve mentioned before that this shouldn’t be alarming nor should people call it unsustainable. The Caps have the talent to hold higher than league average percentages, I feel. But let’s look at the components.


YTD_percentages_game_72 rolling_percentages_game_72

Save percentage rising, and shooting percentage falling. I guess that could throw up some red flags, but in my rose-colored glasses, they’re good red flags. I’d honestly expect the shooting percentage to maybe rise a bit in even strength. Again – the offensive talent this team has should be able to maintain better than 7% even strength shooting. We all know Holtby can maintain the even strength save percentage we’re seeing. Well it may come down a bit, but I’d be surprised if it takes a nosedive. With these kinds of percentages, and winning the possession battle, we should definitely expect the Caps to win more games than they lose in the remaining 10 games. But, we’re Caps fans, and we can never actually expect that kind of thing.


Special Teams: Summary

YTD_ST_game_72 rolling_ST_game_72

Things have been pretty volatile in the rolling 10-game special teams’ performance. The Caps really do seem to be feast or famine in the special teams department. Although they’re right in the middle of the most recent feasts and most recent famines, so I don’t know where they’re going from here. I guess let’s look at the power play and penalty kill individually.


Special Teams: Power Play


YTD_PP_Shots_game_72 rolling_PP_Performance_game_72 rolling_PP_Shots_game_72

I still like what I’m seeing in this data. The shot generation looks to have peaked, but if it can sustain that level of production, that can only mean good things. 2.5 shots per power play opportunity is certainly a luxury. Because, well let’s face it, the Caps are not getting the beneficial calls lately. Which is clear in the average power play opportunities per game being at its lowest in months. As I transition into the penalty kill, it’s worth noting the rather large spike in the power play conversion rate, and contrast it to the rather stagnant STI. So we can probably expect some less than desirable trends on the other side of the special teams.


Special Teams: Penalty Kill

YTD_SH_Performance_game_72 YTD_SH_Shots_game_72 rolling_SH_Performance_game_72 rolling_SH_Shots_game_72

Actually, not what I was expecting. Kind of pleasantly surprised honestly. There was that awful example in Dallas, even though there wasn’t anything systemically different apparent. I hope we see more of the recent trend in the discipline arena. Although, I could do without Brouwer repeatedly cross checking a player when the Caps are up 2 goals. That kind of crap will bite you in the ass more often than it won’t.

Well, the current 10-game rolling data suggests the Caps will net a positive shot differential from special teams alone. So, just don’t piss off the refs or do stupid, ill-advised garbage after/before the whistle in hopes of skewing the opportunities heavily in the opponent’s favor. Looking at you Chimera, Brouwer, and our supposed veteran leadership.


Fenwick Percentage: Score State

YTD_fenwick_score_game_72 rolling_fenwick_score_game_72

The Caps are slowly digging themselves out of the hole they were in back since the last Hurricanes game. Tied performance is much better, but the rest of the score scenarios are a bit mercurial. Funny to note currently that the best the Caps are in terms of unblocked shot attempts is when they’re up by 2+ goals. More of that scenario please.


Corsi Percentage: Score State

YTD_corsi_score_game_72 rolling_corsi_score_game_72

Well the Caps are positive in total shot attempt percentage over the last 10 games, no matter the score state, except for the dreaded 1 goal lead. So as long as they get the lead and immediately expand upon it, they’re all good.


Fenwick Rates: Score State

YTD_fenwickfor_score_game_72YTD_fenwickagainst_score_game_72 rolling_fenwickfor_score_game_72 rolling_fenwickagainst_score_game_72

Tied unblocked shot attempts are doing the right things in both directions of the ice. That’s about all I have to glean from these charts. Although it is interesting that the Caps shoot the puck more when they’re tied than when they’re down 1, and they allow more shots when they’re tied vs when they’re up 1. Little things amuse me.


Corsi Rates: Score State

YTD_corsifor_score_game_72YTD_corsiagainst_score_game_72 rolling_corsifor_score_game_72rolling_corsiagainst_score_game_72

Some of the same stuff, but nothing really unique worth commenting on. So let’s close this  thing out.




Summary? Things are pretty level where they are. We have a good picture of the Washington Capitals. A positive possession team, with enough offensive and goaltending talent to sustain better than league average percentages, and a team that can be pretty volatile in special teams. Those elements currently add up to a 100 point pacing team in probably one of the stronger divisions in the league this year. They also mean that a playoff series for this team could very well be decided by officiating or a hot or cold streak on either special team. So…par for the course for Washington Capitals playoffs in recent memory.

Make sure to pay attention to the remaining 10 games, and I’ll try to check back in after the next Carolina game, right before a murderous season-ending stretch.


Capital Trends Game 67

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.

Playoff Pacing


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.


Capital Trends Game 54

So that Philadelphia game was…something. By something I mean something bad, very bad. Seriously, you’ll see throughout the graphs that it took just about every trend in the wrong direction. Those kinds of games suck. They suck even more when it’s to a team like Philadelphia, where they seemed to relish the opportunity to injure some of the Washington Capitals’ younger forwards. And they suck even more when the Caps had a chance to hop into a tie for first place in the division with a win. I want to add more toppings on the shit sundae that was that game by mentioning that it was also another failed attempt for the Caps to string together 4 consecutive wins. But enough about how terrible that game was.

The Caps have a nice little California road trip (with some fathers tagging along) up next. That road trip is never easy given the recent dominance of those 3 clubs. Follow that up with a tilt with the Penguins immediately after, and the Caps definitely could have used those 2 points. Oh well, let’s take a look at how the other 7 games pushed the data since the pre-ASG post.


They’re still soundly in the playoff picture, and actually still above the 100 point pace. But after that initial little losing streak following their tear, they’ve treaded water above the 100 point pace, so it’s not all bad. The top of the Metro has gotten crowded with teams boasting similar accomplishments though. God I hope we don’t see the Rags in the first round again.

FenClose_bars_Game_54 YTD_possession_game_54 rolling_possession_game_54

Well they had been stringing some nice possession games along when looking at the bar graph above. Then Philly happened. I wish that was the last time I would say that phrase, but I’m pretty sure you’ll see it again. It’s not worth getting worked up over the precipitous fall in the score-tied Corsi and Fenwick metrics. Those tend to be pretty constrained samples and can be subject to more wild swings than something like score-adjusted Fenwick, where the Caps have done well, hovering around 55% over the last several games.

YTD_PDO_game_54 rolling_PDO_game_54

I’ve made the comment before that even with the Caps’ fall down the PDO cliff, it’s nice to see them still picking up points here and there. But PDO itself is kind of useless, so on to the shooting and save percentage breakdown!

YTD_percentages_game_54 rolling_percentages_game_54

Yikes, shooting percentage came down in a big way. But Braden (and Grubi!) have done well to keep the Caps in the games, even if their offense is sputtering a little bit.

YTD_shots_game_54 YTD_ES_shots_game_54 rolling_shots_game_54 rolling_ES_shots_game_54

It’s really painful to see what a season-low in shots on goal can do the averages. There’s even a very noticeable tick down in the season cumulative data. That’s ugly. I would say that’s even more surprising that the even strength data isn’t more pronounced than the total shots, but then I remembered how anemic the power play looked against Philly. Man I wish that game didn’t happen.

YTD_ST_game_54 rolling_ST_game_54

Special teams aren’t looking so great the past two games. Bad enough to move the needle almost a whole percent in two games. Doesn’t sound like much, but it is this late in the season.

YTD_PP_Performance_game_54 YTD_PP_Shots_game_54 rolling_PP_Performance_game_54 rolling_PP_Shots_game_54

I’m actually really surprised the PPs/game data didn’t spike up more on the Philly game since they were gifted 6 man-advantages, but that’s due the 10-games prior and averaging it out. The Caps really weren’t getting a lot of penalties called in their favor 8, 9, and 10 games back. About that shot generation though…don’t think I need to say anything. If you watched, you know.

YTD_SH_Performance_game_54 YTD_SH_Shots_game_54 rolling_SH_Performance_game_54 rolling_SH_Shots_game_54

Yay a positive! The Caps are taking less penalties and limiting shots in a much more noticeable way (if you look at the data).

YTD_fenwick_score_game_54 rolling_fenwick_score_game_54

What is this I see? The Caps are actually better over the last 10 games with a 1 goal lead than they are when tied or even when they’re down a goal? What’s happening? Cue hysteria!

YTD_corsi_score_game_54 rolling_corsi_score_game_54

Not quite as noticeable with Corsi though. Still, they’re right on 50% for CF% when up a goal. And they’re above 50% for both tied and trailing a goal. Tied is coming back down a bit though.

YTD_fenwickfor_score_game_54 YTD_fenwickagainst_score_game_54 rolling_fenwickfor_score_game_54 rolling_fenwickagainst_score_game_54

Boo that Philly game again. It’s like they didn’t want to shoot at Emery. Maybe he intimidated them, they all thought if they lit him up like last time he’d mug them, or someone else that didn’t want to fight? Or maybe they were just waiting for a shot since he was good enough to earn 3rd star last time they saw him.

YTD_corsifor_score_game_54 YTD_corsiagainst_score_game_54 rolling_corsifor_score_game_54 rolling_corsiagainst_score_game_54

Same stuff with Corsi. Although maybe just the tiniest bit muted compared to the Fenwick drop. Because, man the Caps were shooting wide of the net all day Sunday.


Alright, there you have it. The Caps are still holding a 100+ point pace without crazy high PDO, or special teams. If we just pretend like that Philly game never happened there’s a lot to like about this team going forward.


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).