Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
It’s no secret the Capitals have been on a “Monumental” scoring rampage since the start of 2017. The Caps have scored five or more goals in their last 10 home games – a mind-boggling stat when you think about it. However, a rather lessor-known stat is the blistering shooting percentages the Capitals have been posting in the new year. So what does this mean? Can the shooting and scoring be sustained?
Much has been made about the Capitals scoring in January, but as a refresher, here are just a few of the eye-popping facts:
Caps are the 2nd team in NHL history to score 5+ goals in 10 straight home games, joining the 1970-71 Bruins (11).
- The Caps have scored 89 goals in 2017, best in the NHL. The Minnesota Wild are second with 65 goals in the new year.
- The Caps have a +41 goal differential in 2017.
- The Caps power play is the best in the league in 2017, at 32.7%.
- The Caps have an NHL-high 10 players with double-digit goals (Ovechkin, Oshie, Williams, Johansson, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Beagle, Burakovsky, Connolly & Eller).
Scoring like this, coupled with the league’s best save percentage since January 1st, and you can see how the Caps are making quick work of any and all opponents.
Before diving too deep into shooting percentages, it should be noted that a really good percentage is around 10%, with better teams in the league shooting 8-9%. Considering that, the Capitals shooting percentages for the last five games:
#Capitals shooting percentages for last five games: 19.4%, 15.1%, 25%, 10% and 22%.
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) February 10, 2017
NEW YEARS (R)EVOLUTION
The Caps have the best 5-on-5 team shooting percentage in the league since New Years Eve, at a gaudy 14.3%. For some perspective, here are the teams with the league’s top-five shooting percentages since January 1, 2017:
[Side note: Capitals also lead the league in save percentages over that time frame with a robust .953 percentage]
So, the Capitals are playing outside the NHL statistical atmosphere for shooting percentages. What does this mean for the remainder of the season?
So does this mean there is a pending drop on the horizon? As CJ Witt wrote back on January 25th, the league average is typically around 9.6% over the last seven season.
The Big Picture
Yes, the Caps are probably about 4 percentage points above the average high for shooting percentage, and will likely see that number drop back to the rest of the pack. However, when you consider the entire season, the Capitals are still the best 5-on-5 shooting team, but the season average is in the normal range, 10.4%, for a league leader.
The Capitals’ shooting percentage will most likely drop to a realistic 10% for the remainder of the season, but still could finish above the highest average in recent years. Does the drop in shooting percentage mean more losses for the Capitals? Not necessarily.
For additional perspective, consider that the bottom five teams in shooting percentage are all still very much in the playoff hunt, with the exception of the Colorado Avalanche.
By Jon Sorensen