Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
It was supposed to be a shootout. A no doubter 6-5 game between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs – two offensively gifted teams. If you’re reading this I’m going to assume you know the final score. A 2-0 win by the Leafs.
After allowing eight goals against the Flyers on Saturday night, it was nice to see the Capitals had allowed zero goals through forty minutes against the highest scoring team in the NHL. The problem is Washington wasn’t scoring either. I’m going to show you a chart in just a second, and it might show you why the Capitals got shutout on home ice.
As you can see the shot attempts were pretty even. The Leafs pulled away in the second period and held a pretty good lead for most of the game until the Caps were pushing for a tying goal late in the third. Total shot attempts ended 57-56, also in Toronto’s favor.
Now for the chart that I think decided this game.
Looking at the scoring chances and the areas that they came in, Toronto clearly deserved to win this game. They were getting in the dirty areas and that was ultimately where the winning goal by Connor Brown was scored. The Capitals did get in some good areas, mostly right in the slot, but no goals unfortunately.
This is why you can’t always use stats to determine who had a good game. I don’t think Burakovsky had a good game at all. Every time he touches the puck these days I’m expecting something bad to happen. Maybe that’s a bit too harsh but he either turns the puck over or misses on a shot. The Capitals second line however was good in possession.
The first line on the other hand was not. Kuznetsov, specifically. He was a -12 and had 25 shot attempts against. Ovechkin and Vrana had 19 and 18 shot attempts against respectively. Vrana, playing a lot less than the other two, makes that stand out more.
Others to mention:
Madison Bower: +1
Christian Djoos: -4
A different night for faceoffs. Tyler Graovac played just 3:19 of the game and took just one faceoff, which he lost. He was filling in for a sick Lars Eller. The Capitals were then basically playing with just three regular centers. Beagle unsurprisingly led the way, Backstrom did well and the Capitals top line center Kuznetsov is now 39.1% on faceoffs for the season, after another poor night.
Other takers tonight:
Brett Connolly: 2 for 2
Smith-Pelly, Wilson & Oshie: 1 for 1
Jakub Vrana: 0 for 1
I thought Braden Holtby was good tonight. Early he had to fight off several Maple Leaf chances. Without him, it could have been two or three to nothing very early. The goal he did get beat on was a rebound right on his doorstep.
Not much to mention on special teams. The leaky penalty kill was 100% tonight killing all three of the Maple Leafs power plays. The power play, as you would guess in a shutout came up empty.
It wasn’t a great game, obviously far from the best. You never want to get shutout on home ice but I don’t think the Caps had a ton of grade A chances either. They will have to get to the front of the net and start pounding in some goals here soon. Especially if it’s going to only be three or four guys scoring goals, other guys will have to get beat up to score goals.
Caps will have a couple of days between games. Next up they are visiting the brand new facility in Detroit to play an old friend in Mike Green and the Red Wings on Friday.
By CJ Witt