Penguins at Capitals – Inside The Numbers: A Game Of Inches

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

This one was wild from the start. In the end, the game came down to two Penguins goals that managed to cross the goal line, and two chances by the Caps, that didn’t. Here’s our deeper dive on the stats and numbers from the latest edition of Capitals-Penguins. 

Our complete game recap can be found here. The NHL box score can be found here. Stats provided by Natural Stat Trick are here.

No surprise, this one was a heated affair. Tom Wilson, seeing the Pens for the first time this season, wasted no time in taking care of unfinished business with Jamie Oleksiak. As you may recall, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford called-out Wilson for not fighting Oleksiak in Game 3 of the playoffs last season. Wilson was smart, didn’t take the Penguins bait in the playoffs, and took care of business in a less-meaningful regular season game.

As for hockey, the Capitals lone goal came from Lars Eller in the middle frame. The Penguins would answer with two extremely dirty goals, also in the second period, for the 2-1 win.

The Capitals returned to basic lines used in recent games, since T.J. Oshie returned and Christian Djoos went down with an injury.


Scratches: Andre Burakovsky, Chandler Stephenson and Tyler Lewington.

After a heated but scoreless opening frame, Lars Eller would break the seal with his first goal in 12 games to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. The Pens would answer with a crazy goal from Sidney Crosby, bouncing off his stick, and then his skate, and a dirty goal down low from Bryan Rust, all in the second period, and would hang on for the 2-1 win. See our game recap here for goals.

The Capitals led in shot attempts 15-13 and the Penguins led in shots on goal (SOG) 8-7 after 20 minutes of play. The Capitals out-attempted the Penguins 15-14 with the Penguins leading 13-10 in SOG for the middle frame. The Capitals would out-attempt the Penguins 16-11 and led 14-8 in SOG in the final frame.



Braden Holtby stopped 28 of 30 shots he faced for a .933 save percentage. Murray stopped 31 of 32 shots he faced for a .969 save percentage.

Pittsburgh entered the game 9th in the league on the power play (22.8%) and 10th in the league on the penalty kill (82.1%). The Capitals entered the game with the leagues 5th-best power play (26.3%) and the leagues 27th ranked penalty kill (75.2%).

In the game, the Penguins went 1 for 4 on the power play. The Capitals were 0 for 5 on the man advantage.

The Penguins entered the game with the league’s 18th-best faceoff winning percentage at 49.8%. The Capitals entered the game with the league’s 23rd-best faceoff winning percentage at 48.1%.

For the game, the Penguins smoked the Capitals at the dot, winning 61-39%. Nicklas Backstrom was 12 of 19, Lars Eller was 3 for 14, Smith-Pelly was 0 for 1, Nic Dowd was 2 for 3, T.J. Oshie was 1 for 6 and Evgeny Kuznetsov was 4 for 13.

Travis Boyd was once again holder of low ice time.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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3 Responses to Penguins at Capitals – Inside The Numbers: A Game Of Inches

  1. J says:

    Caps lost this game in 1 area shot quality. They didnt bring their “A” game. It was a physical game and especially had playoff feel with the fight and what not but once the game got into its flow whether 5on5 or STs… 1, Caps took plenty of shots but Pens did a great job mostly for about 55minutes of giving Murray clean vision, giving him 1 shot and out or blocking shots, and keeping caps outside. Whereas you look at Pens they had traffic on Holtby all night and got 2 hardworking/lucky deflection, rebound goals which it takes to win these very close games.

    Caps gotta bring their A game, not a last 5-10minute surge trying to tie the game up when its too late then they start crashing&banging bodies on net& getting deflections and rebounds that barely miss.

    You gotta bust your ass, traffic, get pucks deep, net drive, rebounds, deflections for 60minutes.. and tonight caps didnt take it as serious as Pens did

  2. DayOne Caps Fanatic says:

    It wasn’t the Caps’ night. But it was all worth it to see T Wilson defeat the much larger man Oleksiak. Each of the Penguins’ Stanley Cup years …. they made a living out of cheap shots and mugging opponents’ goalkeepers. Last playoff season #72 Pittsburgh no longer was able to just stand unmolested in the crease and whack Holtby all game long. The Caps won the series

  3. Pingback: Buffalo at Washington Preview: Capitals Reconvene With Sabres At Capital One On Friday Night | NoVa Caps

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