Washington Capitals Statistics Analysis – 12/27/15 – 01/03/16

 This is an analysis of the Washington Capitals’ performance from an advanced statistics standpoint for the week of Dec 27, 2015 through Jan 3, 2016. Statistics were taken from the War on Ice Website for each game.

Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres (December 28)
The Capitals won this game 2-0, scoring their first goal early in the second period and their second goal just over midway through the second period. In this game, Alex Ovechkin had the best Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages among his line mates (Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie), hovering near 55% in both. Backstrom exceeded 50% by a small margin for both Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages. Oshie was just over 45% in both Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages, indicating that he was driving the play less than his linemates. While the scoresheet did not reflect it, the second line of Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson, and Evgeny Kuznetsov all exceeded 50% Corsi For percentage and also exceeded 60% Fenwick For percentage, with Williams having the best percentages. For the third line, Jay Beagle had the best Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages, both over 50% and slightly greater than that of Jason Chimera. Possession Statistics were not as good for Tom Wilson who was between 35-40% in Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages. On the fourth line, Andre Burakovsky and Brooks Laich had Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages exceeding 60%. Michael Latta has Corsi For percentage at 50% and his Fenwick For percentage at 45%. Overall, it was a good day for the forwards in possession, with all of the exceeding 50% in both Corsi For and Fenwick For except for T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson, and Michael Latta. The Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages were not as strong for the defensemen overall. Both the first pairing defensemen (Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen) and the second pairing defensemen (Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt) had Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages between 45% and 50%. For this game, Alzner and Niskanen played nearly 30 minutes in the game. Alzner and Niskanen had a significantly higher percentage of defensive zone starts than offensive zone starts. Orlov and Schmidt had more offensive zone starts than defensive zone starts. The much more sheltered third pairing of Connor Carrick and Taylor Chorney had Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages exceeding 90%. Both of them would only have offensive zone starts.

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Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres (December 30)
The Caps won this game 5-2.  They were initially down 1-0 after one period but came back to tie in second period, and then fell behind again near the end of that period.  However, Caps won game due to with 4 unanswered goals during third period.  In this game, all three members of the first line (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie) had Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages over 50%, with Ovechkin having the best Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages of the trio and Oshie having better percentages than Backstrom.  The second line members (Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, and Justin Williams) also had Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages over 50%, with Kuznetsov having both Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages above 70%, Williams having a Corsi For percentage exceeding 70% and a Fenwick For percentage in the mid 60% range.  The high possession percentages for the Top 6 reflected how well they produced on the score sheet.   Granted, Backstrom was absent for the 3rd period when much of the offensive explosion took place.  For the third period, Kuznetsov had moved up to the first line and Andre Burakovsky moved up to the second line.  Burakovsky also had both Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages above 70%.  It was not as strong of a possession game for the bottom six players.

On defense, the first pairing of Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen exceeded 70% for both Corsi For and Fenwick For.  For the second pairing, Dmitry Orlov exceeded 50% both Corsi For and Fenwick For while Nate Schmidt was right at 50% in both Corsi For and Fenwick For.  The third pairing of Taylor Chorney and Conner Carrick clustered around 60% in Corsi For and Fenwick For, with sheltered usage.

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Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes (December 31)
This game was a 4-2 loss for the Capitals.  The Canes opened the scoring in the second period, with the Caps responding two minutes later.  However, Carolina scored two goals during the third period to increase the lead to 3-1.  While Alex Ovechkin had a late goal, it was not enough for a comeback and the Canes added an empty net goal.

In this game, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages exceeding 50%, with Backstrom having a Fenwick For percentage exceeding 60%.  Oshie was between 44-48% in both Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages, indicating that he was driving the play less than his linemates.  The second line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, and Justin Williams all had Corsi For percentages between 37% and 47%.  They had higher Fenwick For percentages – between 42% and 52%.  Other forwards exceeding 50% in Corsi For and Fenwick For were Andre Burakovsky, who had percentages over 60%, Jason Chimera, and Tom Wilson.  Zach Sill exceeded 50% in Fenwick For percentage.

For the first defensive pairing, Karl Alzner had Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages hovering around 35% and Matt Niskanen had Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages hovering around 45%.  For the second pairing, Dmitry Orlov had a Corsi For percentage exceeding 50% and a Fenwick For percentage exceeding 60%.  Nate Schmidt had a Corsi For percentage at 40% and a Fenwick For Percentage of 48%.  The third pairing of Taylor Chorney and Conner Carrick exceeded 50% in both Corsi For and Fenwick For, with Carrick at 65% in Fenwick For and Chorney over 60% in both Corsi For and Fenwick For, with sheltered usage.

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Capitals vs Columbus Blue Jackets (January 2, 2016)
This game was a 5-4 shootout loss for the Caps in a game proceeding in see saw fashion, with Columbus getting a goal early and then the Caps evening up the score, the Blue Jackets getting another goal, and the Caps evening up the score again.  In later periods, the Caps would get a goal and the Blue Jackets would respond.  The game went to Overtime and then to a shootout which Dallas won.

In this game, a great deal of the scoring took place on special teams, with each team getting two power play goals but the Caps getting more power plays, in general.  The Caps did not have good Corsi For and Fenwick For percentages overall.  The only forwards to exceed 50% in Corsi For for the Caps were: Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson.  Brooks Laich, Michael Latta, and Tom Wilson were at exactly 50% in Corsi For.  Defensemen to exceed 50% in Corsi For were Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt.  The only player to exceed 50% in Fenwick For was Nate Schmidt.

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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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