Capitals vs. Penguins: A Look At The Numbers

The Washington Capitals won a decisive home opener for the first game of the season with a 7-0 blasting of the Boston Bruins. The next night they were part of another seven goal game, but this time on the wrong end, losing 6-7 in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins

It sounds bad, but when you consider the Caps played 20 hours earlier, had four less power plays, and were called for a cheapy penalty in overtime that ended the game, it’s actually quite impressive. If the Capitals were rested, they more than likely take the win.

It’s usually not best to look at analytics on games that are played on the backend of a back-to-back because it’s usually ugly, but it’s worth looking to see what happened. This is provided by

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The Capitals were playing a great game until you could see them running out of gas where most teams do when playing the backend of a back-to-back: middle of the second period. After that the Penguins took over with the help of six total power plays, which makes defending teams even more tired.

After adjusting for flurry/score/venue the Penguins were only expected to score 3.68 5v5 goals, while Capitals were expected to score 2.66, so only one less than the Penguins. Impressive considering how tired the Capitals were.

The best players of the game were the Djoos-Carlson top pair and the first and fourth line. Djoos-Carlson were +27.5%in RelHDCF%. The fourth line of Walker-Dowd-DSP were +16.13RelHDCF% and Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Connolly were +21.33RelHDCF%.

The third line of Burakovsky-Eller-Stephenson took a blasting in the game, which was seen even in the eye test. They were a -35.68RelHDCF%. That’s terrible. But again, the whole team was tired and I’m sure Lars Eller still isn’t feeling great after that Marchand jumping from the night before.

The fact the Capitals got a point is a great sign. Even when completely out of gas they fought hard and clawed back into the game against a great opponent to get some points. This game should be considered a win. Now they’ll get a long rest as they won’t play again for another six days. Great scheduling, NHL.

[Numbers provided by Natural Stat Trick]

By Luke Adomanis

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7 Responses to Capitals vs. Penguins: A Look At The Numbers

  1. Anonymous says:

    on a back to back, the caps did well but had too many penalties… but 6 goals the night after B vs the pens is ok…

  2. Clifford Keefe says:

    I know it was tempting to put Holtby back in the net since he pitched a shutout on opening night. But going forward, on the second night of back-to-backs, more often than not I’d like to see the backup goalie between the pipes to make it less likely that Braden doesn’t suffer a Vasilevskiy-like meltdown as the season progresses…

    Just Sayin’


    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I would have gone with Cops. Now he won’t play for another 5 days. We need to find out what we have as soon as possible.

      • Clifford Keefe says:

        Copley certainly played well enough in the last pre-season game, as I recall, to merit a closer look in games that count. And I agree…the only way to really find out what we’ve got in Phoenix is to allow him to face live bullets–sooner rather than later, and reduce the risk of burning Holtby out through overuse…

  3. Clifford Keefe says:

    All things considered I loved the fight we showed…

  4. Anonymous says:

    2nd game in as many nights, no MK, no TW…. new player… Im ok with it

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