Photo: Washington Capitals
With just two postseason games in the books, all stats need to be taken with the proverbial “grain of salt”. However, one early trend that is not looking good for the Caps is their success at the dot.
After two games, the Capitals are 14th out of the 16 playoff teams in faceoff winning percentage, with a winning percentage of 42.1%. (Thus the Maple Leafs have the third best winning percentage at 57.9%).
A Quick Recap of the 2016-2017 Season for Context
The following table is a team summary for the top teams in the NHL for the 2016-2017 regular season. As you can see, both the Maple Leafs and Capitals finished the regular season in the middle of the pack, ranked 15th and 16th respectively.
Let’s take a look at individual player stats for the past season. The following table is a summary of the season totals for the Capitals and their faceoff success rates for the 2016-2017 season.
Individual Player Stats for the 2016-2017 Playoffs
So where are the Capitals coming up short? The following table provides faceoff statistics for the first two games of the post season.
As you can see, both Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie are well below their season averages for 2016-2017. Jay Beagle is also 10 percentage points below his season average. These three players represent nearly half of all of the faceoffs taken in the post season to date. Evgeny Kuznetsov represents a large percentage of the remaining faceoffs, and he is close to his season average.
So who’s getting it done for the Maple Leafs? Seven players have taken faceoffs in the series and all of them have a better than 50% success rate against the Capitals.
Again, it’s early. Expect to see adjustments in matchups and improved success rates as this series progresses. However, with the series shifting to Toronto, Leafs’ bench boss Mike Babcock will control the matchups to some extent, so improvements won’t come easy.
By Jon Sorensen