After a low-scoring defensive matchup with former bench boss Barry Trotz and the Islanders, the Capitals came out victorious 2-1 in Ilya Samsonov’s NHL debut. This was a strong showing in all phases of the game by the Capitals, and the possession stats back that up.
Let’s take a quick look at how the Caps’ performed, keying-in specifically on possession metrics and suppression of high danger chances against.
|Team||CF % 5 vs 5||FF % 5 vs 5||HDCF% 5 vs 5|
The possession metrics above show that the Caps really drove the pace of play in tonight’s game. The ‘Corsi For’ percentage was nearly 60/40, meaning the Caps were attempting more shots than they were giving up to the Islanders.
On top of that, the Caps also had 61.54% of the high danger chances in tonight’s tilt, outchancing the Isles on high danger chances 8 to 5.
Limiting these high danger chances against, as well as suppressing shots, seem to be the key formula for success for this team coming into the season. After giving up the second most high danger chances against last season, the Caps have only given up nine in two games. This is good news so far, especially since the first two games this season were against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, and a team that reached the second round of the playoffs last season.
Additionally, the Caps are averaging a 58.86% Corsi For percentage in two games this season, so this is a good sign early in the season. The Caps will need to continue this trend going forward. We can hope that these numbers could get even better with a player like Evgeny Kuznetsov returning to the roster after tomorrow’s game against the Hurricanes.
One thing to keep an eye on going forward is scoring from the Capitals’ third and fourth lines. So far this season, all of the points from the forward ranks are from Eller, Oshie, Vrana, Backstrom, and Ovechkin. Interestingly enough, four of the sixth defensemen have gotten on the scoresheet. Nic Dowd, Brendan Leipsic, and Garnet Hathaway are at the bottom of the list for scoring chances for per 60 minutes of ice time, which is somewhat to be expected for a fourth line, but their numbers could surely increase.
All in all, we’re basically nitpicking here. The Caps have played two solid road games against solid opponents the first two games of this season. We’ll see how this team performs in a back to back with Eastern Conference finalists Carolina.
By Justin Trudel