Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images
Four games into their first round playoff series, the Capitals find themselves in a battle. A week into the series and we sit tied 2-2. It was a great win for the Capitals in game four. Now the Capitals have recaptured home ice advantage, and have a game on home ice Friday Night. How close has this series been? Let’s take a look.
Above any stat you can think of, there is obviously nothing more important than goals. All the games this series have been one goal games. Goal differential is in the Capitals favor 13-12.
Washington has been pretty good on both the power play and penalty kill, both have come up big at times. The power play is 4-12 meaning it is 33.3% and the penalty kill is 10-13 meaning a 76.9%.
This is the highest shooting series in the playoffs. The teams rank one and two in shots per game among the sixteen playoff teams. Washington averages 36.8 shots per game and Toronto averages 37.5 per game. Take into account there was a double overtime game where Toronto had 51 shots and the Capitals had 50 shots.
Neither team was great at faceoffs in the regular season. These teams were the 15th and 16th ranked teams in faceoff % this season, so it was a little hard to guess who would be better at the dot this series. After four games, Toronto has been the better team. Washington is just 46.2% on faceoffs. Out of the sixteen playoff teams that puts them in 14th place.
Now we can move onto the “fancy stats“. We’re going to show you these stats a little differently here. Instead of showing the general Shot Attempt % for the teams, we’re going to show you the SAT% and the Scoring Chances For% by period.
We’re four games into this series so there have been four 1st periods, four 2nd periods and four 3rd periods. Maybe this way we can see if one team has a better period. We’ll show Washington’s number’s below.
What this tells us is Washington has been good at starting games. The Caps are out attempting the Leafs 70-60 in the first period this series.
Something to also look at is the 2nd period. Out of the four games so far, Toronto has out attempted the Caps three times in the 2nd.
Home ice could be playing a huge part in the third period. Here are the attempts from each of the four games from period number three.
WSH 24-12 TML Game 1
WSH 31-17 TML Game 2
WSH 8-17 TML Game 3
WSH 8-21 TML Game 4
None of the games, possession wise, have been very close when looking at the third period, as the home team has had a clear advantage in all of them. You can also look at scoring chances in the third period and it’s very similar.
WSH 14-5 TML Game 1
WSH 11-10 TML Game 2
WSH 4-10 TML Game 3
WSH 6-12 TML Game 4
The only exception here is game 2 in Washington where the chances were close. Other than that the home team in the third period has really taken over.
Good sign for game five in Washington? It’s a 2-2 series and after a big win in Game 4 all the pressure is still on the Capitals. Game 5 is a must win or the Presidents’ Trophy winning Capitals will face elimination going back to Toronto for Game six.
By CJ Witt