Washington Capitals Advanced Statistics Analysis – Week Ending 11-15-15

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(Graphic: ChigagoBooth.edu)

This article is a game by game analysis from an advanced statistics standpoint.  Statistics were taken from the War on Ice Website for each game and includes iSC (Individual Scoring Chances), iCF (Individual Corsi For), Corsi Plus/Minus, Fenwick Plus Minus, Goals Plus/Minus, Corsi For, Fenwick For, Zone Starts Offensive, Zone Starts Defensive Time on Ice, Corsi For Percentage, and Fenwick For Percentage.  The latter two columns were calculated from the Corsi (or Fenwick) Plus Minus and the Corsi (or Fenwick) For columns.  All statistics listed are based on performance at even strength so power play time and penalty killing time is not included.

Capitals vs Detroit Red Wings – Nov 10, 2015

In this game, which was a 1-0 loss, the members of the Capitals’ first line, Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov, all had Corsi For and Fenwick For Percentages above 60 percent, ranging from Oshie in the 60 percent range to Ovi at over 80 percent.  Among forwards, Ovi and Oshie had most of the scoring chances and Ovi lead the way with the highest individual Corsi For.  It was obvious that the first line was the best line that game, as far as puck possession at even strength was concerned.

The second line of Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, and Andre Burakovsky achieved at or just over 50% in relative Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages.  They could be judged as “okay but nothing special”.  The remaining two lines all were far below 50 percent in both Corsi For and Fenwick for, with especially low figures achieved by Jay Beagle and Jason Chimera.

For the defense pairings, Nate Schmidt had the best Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages at 50 percent.  The other defensemen were all below 50 percent.  That confirmed the eye test that a lot of odd man rushes and other defensive breakdowns had taken place.

All in all, only the first line performed well, in that game.

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Capitals vs Philadelphia Flyers – Nov 12, 2015

This particular game was a 5-2 win for the Capitals.   The members of the first line (Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Oshie) all had poor possession statistics, having Corsi or Fenwick For Percentages at 40 percent or lower, even thought they were responsible for one goal at even strength.  The second line, AKA the Tre Kroner Line, performed well, based on the Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages, being between 65 and 80 percent.  That was borne out by a goal scored by Nicklas Backstrom, although Tom Wilson was on the ice when Backstrom scored, rather than Burakovsky.  Wilson has positive possession statistics in this game, achieving a 57 percent in Corsi For and a 64% in Fenwick For.  His pass was a strong contributor to the Backstrom goal.  The third line of Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera, and Justin Williams had mediocre possession statistics, generally being in the 40-50 percent range.  While Chimera had two goals that game, they were both on the power play which is not considered in this analysis.  Except for Wilson, the remainder of the fourth line (Brooks Laich and Michael Latta) had mediocre possession statistics.

For the defensive pairings, the combination of Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen had a good day, both having between 60 and 70 percent possession.  The rest of the defenseman were mediocre from a puck possession standpoint, generally being under 50 percent.

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Capitals vs Calgary Flames – Nov 13 2015

This game was a 3-2 loss for the Capitals in Overtime.  The members of the first line (Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Oshie) were at nearly 50 percent Corsi For but at around 33 percent Fenwick For, which indicates so-so possession, overall, and attempted shots being blocked.  Not one of the better games for the first line.  The second line, AKA the Tre Kroner Line, performed well, based on the Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages, being between 65 and 80 percent.  Still, they were unable to score themselves and, in fact, Backstrom and Johansson were on the ice for a goal against.  Burakovsky had spent some shifts with other lines and had contributed an assist.  The third and fourth liners generally, had positive possession statistics, generally being over 60 percent in Corsi For.  The Fenwick For percentages were more varied.  Wilson had only 44 percent in Fenwick For Percentage but the others topped 50 percent.  The fact that members of the third and fourth lines had the goals in that particular game (Jay Beagle and Michael Latta) was a reflection of their good underlying statistics.

For the defensive pairings, John Carlson and Nate Schmidt seem to be a good pair, both achieving the highest Corsi For percentages and both topping 60%.  The other defensemen topped 50 percent in Corsi For, except for Dmitry Orlov who was just under.  In Fenwick For percentage, all six defensemen were between 50-60 percent.  Orlov had the worst score – at 50 percent.

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By Diane Doyle

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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