Hurricanes at Capitals – Inside The Numbers: A Sluggish, But Successful Return

Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

This one was a fairly sluggish contest from the start, with both sides showing signs of being on the Christmas break for the last four days. Carolina also traveled from Raleigh earlier in the day, as mandated by the collective bargaining agreement. But in the end, the Capitals found a way to get the job done with a 3-1 victory. The Capitals are back on the ice on Saturday when they face the Senators in Ottawa. Puck drop is set for 7:00PM. 


After a rather sleepy re-entry from the Christmas break, the Capitals would finally manage to find the back of the net in the second period, getting goals from Chandler Stephenson and T.J. Oshie for a 2-0 lead. After a Carolina goal, the Caps would add an empty netter for a workmanlike 3-1 victory.

Possibly the only real questionable move for this game was the benching of Nic Dowd, who has been fairly effective in recent games. Other than that, it was business as usual.


Scratches: Nic Dowd, Dmitrij Jaskin and Tyler Lewington (recalled by the Capitals earlier in the day) were all healthy scratches.

The Capitals out-attempted the Hurricanes 16-10 and led 16-8 in shots on goal (SOG) for the opening frame, which ended in a 0-0 tie. The Hurricanes out-attempted the Caps 16-14 with the Caps leading 9-8 in SOG for the middle frame. Trailing for the entire period, the Hurricanes out-attempted the Caps 23-11 and led 13-8 in SOG in the final frame.

The shot attempt differential chart reflects the state of this game. The Capitals grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second, and held on for the 3-1 win.


Braden Holtby turned in another gem Thursday night, stopping 28 of 29 shots faced for a .966 save percentage. Petr Mrazek also had a very nice game, stopping 30 of 32 for a .938 save percentage.

Over the last three games, both Braden Holtby and Pheonix Copley have combined to stop 99 of their last 101 shots they’ve faced (.980 save percentage).

The Capitals entered the game with the league’s 8th ranked power play at 23.4%. But the Capitals power play has been in a downward dive as of late. Since November 1 (25 games): the Capitals power play is ranked 18th at 17.1%, Since December 1 (10 games) they are ranked 27th at 12.1%. The Capitals penalty kill entered the game ranked 26th in the league at 76.4%. The Hurricanes entered the game with the leagues 24th ranked power play at 15.7%. Carolina’s penalty kill was ranked 14th at 80.5%

The Capitals penalty kill was up to the task in the opening frame, successfully killing three Caps penalties, but the power play went 0 for 1 in the first 20 minutes. In the end, the Hurricanes went 0 for 4 on the power play, and the Capitals went 1 for 4 on the man advantage.

The Capitals killed off all four penalties they’ve faced. That marks the fifth time this season the Capitals have recorded a 100 percent kill rate after facing at least four penalty kills. All have resulted in wins.

Carolina entered the game with the league’s 10-best faceoff winning percentage at 51.2%. The Capitals entered the contest with the leagues 27th ranked winning percentage at 47.7%.

For the game, the Capitals won the faceoff battle 55-45% (33 of 60). Jakub Vrana was 1 for 1, Chandler Stephenson was 1 for 3, Nicklas Backstrom was 12 for 16, Lars Eller was 8 for 14, Tom Wilson was 2 for 2, Andre Burakovsky was 0 for 1, Travis Boyd was 4 for 9, T.J. Oshie was 3 for 7 and Evgeny Kuznetsov was 2 for 7.


  • With his 112 career power play assist, John Carlson has passed Mike Green (111) for the sixth most power play assists by a Capitals defenseman in franchise history.
  • Oshie is now two goals shy of 200 career goals.

Andre Burakovsky was once again the low ice time for this game. Nicklas Backstrom led the Caps in shots with 5.

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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