Postgame Analysis: Caps Fall to Penguins in First Matchup of the Season


Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

In their first matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, the Caps fell behind in the second period and were unable to retake the lead. After a relatively flat first two periods, the Caps came out roaring in the third, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Sidney Crosby and the Pens. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ Justin Trudel takes a look at the analytical side of the game to see how the team performed overall.

Possession Metrics

While the Capitals appeared flat in the first two periods, they dominated possession the entire game. The third period was absurdly tilted to the Caps’ offensive side of the ice, with the host team posting an impressive 85.71% Corsi For percentage, and an 81.82% Fenwick For percentage. The below chart shows how the possession statistics looked through the course of the game, courtesy of Natural StatTrick:

corsi for Even though the Capitals seemed to have dominated possession at 5-on-5 play, they took entirely too many penalties, resulting in the disruption of any momentum they could gather. The possession metrics can only count for so much, and the Penguins were able to pounce on scoring opportunities.

Shot Attempts

shot attempts

The Caps barraged Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray with shots in close in high quality areas, but just couldn’t put some High Danger chances home. Additionally, in the second period, the Caps were considerably out-chanced in High Danger scoring opportunities, 9-3. This appeared to be a game in which the Capitals just couldn’t get a fortuitous bounce, while the visiting Penguins got their fair share.

Capitals’ Player of the Game:

The best player on the ice for the Capitals today was Center Lars Eller. He seemed like the only player tuned in for the entire 60 minutes, and had two goals to show for it. In addition, he also won 62.5% of his faceoffs at 5-on-5 play and it was clear that Eller’s play was the catalyst for keeping the Caps in the game while they struggled to find their form through the first 40 minutes of the game.

By Justin Trudel

About Justin Trudel

Justin is a lifelong Caps fan, with some of his first memories of the sport watching the team in the USAir Arena and the 1998 Stanley Cup appearance. Now a resident of St. Augustine, FL, Justin watches the Caps from afar. Justin graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Political Science from Towson University, and a Master's of Science in Applied Information Technology from Towson University. Justin is currently a product manager. Justin enjoys geeking out over advanced analytics, roster construction, and cap management.
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7 Responses to Postgame Analysis: Caps Fall to Penguins in First Matchup of the Season

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Caps lost because they didn’t put in the effort. You cannot wait until the 3rd period to put in the effort. Also, IMHO their defense sucks. If they could learn to play all 60 minutes like they do most of their 3rd periods, there would be no need for the playoffs, the league would just give them the Cup.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Need to just stop wearing the seemingly bad-luck alternate sweaters!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Team needs to just stop wearing what seem like the bad-luck alternate sweaters!

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