Photo: NHL Via Getty Images
With the Washington Capitals now having played 62 games in the 2019-2020 season, it’s time for our annual quarterly assessment of the team. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle looks at the third quarter of the Capitals’ season (see first quarter review here and second quarter review here).
After 62 games, the Capitals have a 38-18-6 record with 82 points, are in first place in the Metropolitan Division, fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and are fourth overall in the NHL, as of this writing. They are two points ahead of the second place Pittsburgh Penguins, who have one game in hand and are five points ahead of the third place Philadelphia Flyers.
Here are comparisons to the five previous seasons after 62 games.
|2017-18||35||20||7||77||1st||4th||7th||NoVa Caps Recap after 61 games.|
|2018-19||34||21||7||75||2nd||5th||9th||NoVa Caps Recap after 61 games.|
The Caps are ahead of their pace from the 2017-18 season (when they won the Stanley Cup) and ahead of their 2018-19 pace. But they are behind their pace of their Presidents’ Trophy years of 2015-16 and 2016-17.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Of the Capitals’ 38 wins, 29 were won in regulation, with six overtime wins that did not go to a shootout, and three shootout wins. They have lost six games in overtime, with two of those six overtime losses coming in a shootout.
To break down totals by month, the Caps were 9-2-3 in October, 10-2-2 in November, 8-5-0 in December, 8-3-0 in January and 3-6-1 in February. In addition, the team has gone 17-9-5 at home and 21-9-1 on the road.
The Capitals have scored 215 goals, 30 more than the NHL average of 185 goals, and have given up 188 goals, three goals worse than the league average. Their Goal Differential is +30, as they have given up 30 less goals than they have scored.
The “Goals For” and “Goals Against” totals per NHL.com, are listed as 215 and 188, given that teams are credited with an extra “Goal For” for shootout wins and debited with an extra “Goal Against” for shootout losses. In the case of the Caps, they won three shootouts and lost two shootouts so their “Goals For” and “Goals Against” totals reflect this.
- Alex Ovechkin – 42
- J. Oshie – 25
- Jakub Vrana – 24
- Tom Wilson – 20
- Evgeny Kuznetsov – 19
- John Carlson — 57
- Nicklas Backstrom — 39
- Evgeny Kuznetsov — 29
- Jakub Vrana – 26
- John Carlson – 72(15 goals; 57 assists)
- Alex Ovechkin – 59(42 goals,17 assists)
- Jakub Vrana – 50(24 goals, 26 assists)
- Nicklas Backstrom – 50 (11 goals; 39 assists)
- Evgeny Kuznetsov – 48(19 goals; 29 assists)
So far, the Capitals as a team have scored 215 goals, which, as mentioned above, is 30 more than the league average of 185. Ovechkin leads the team in goals with 42, nearly one-fifth of the team’s output. Eight other players have goals in double figures (10 or more goals), including Oshie with 25, Vrana with 24, Wilson with 20, Kuznetsov with 19, Carlson and Eller with 15, and Backstrom with 11.
The offense could be described as top-heavy, given that five players (Ovechkin, Oshie, Kuznetsov, Vrana, and Wilson) have scored a disproportionate share (60%) of the team’s goals. Outside of those five players, the next highest goal totals on the team are Carlson and Lars Eller, who each have 15 goals.
Eight players have scored at least 10 goals. Every lineup “regular” has scored at least one goal, with defenseman Nick Jensen the only player who has yet to light the lamp. Carlson has recorded more assists (57) than any other player, with Backstrom the closest with 39 assists. Six other players have recorded at least 20 assists.
The Capitals have scored an average of 3.47 goals per game, which is third in the league (the Tampa Bay Lightning lead the league with 3.53 goals per game). Additionally, the team has given up an average of 3.03 goals per game, which ranks 16th in the NHL, with the league average being 2.99 goals per game.
5-on-5 (Even Strength) Points:
The Caps currently rank 12th in the league in shots per game with 32.0 and have given up an average of 29.8 shots, which ranks seventh; the average number of shots per game sits at 31.3. The Capitals’ team shot percentage is 10.8%, which ranks them second in the league, after the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Caps have won 48.3% of their faceoffs, which ranks 28th league-wide.
In the Advanced Statistics department, the Capitals’ PDO (added Shot Percentage and Save Percentage) is 100.6, which ties for 10th overall in the league.
The Caps have attempted 1,923 shots and yielded 1,793 shots for a +130 differential. The team’s Corsi Percentage sits at 51.5%, while their Fenwick Percentage stands at 51.0%. In addition, their Scoring Chance For Percentage is 52.2%, which puts them fifth in the league.
Individual Shots For (Corsi For, CF%)
Starting goaltender Braden Holtby has played in 43 games, started 42 and recorded 1102 saves on 1229 shots for a Save Percentage of .897 after the third quarter of the season, which sits below his career Save Percentage of .917. He has a 23-13-5 record.
Backup netminder Ilya Samsonov has played in 24 games, starting 16, and has a 16-5-1 record for the year, with a Save Percentage of .916 in his rookie year. He has made 567 saves out of 619 chances. He became the fastest rookie goaltender in franchise history to win 10 games.
The team’s overall save percentage is .898, which ranks #24 in the league and is below the league average of .905. Note: the team’s listed save percentage is lower than the combined save percentage of the Caps’ goalies, which is .903, because the statistics include empty net goals.
For the season, the Capitals have scored 41 power play goals on 201 power play opportunities for a conversion rate of 20.4%, which currently ranks 16th in the league. The team’s power play was in a scoring drought for much of November and December. For October, the conversion percentage sat at 25.4%.
The Capitals’ Penalty Kill percentage is 83.5%, as the team killed 174 penalties in 212 opportunities, ranking them fourth out of 31 teams. The Caps are second in giving up the most power play opportunities, with only the Carolina Hurricanes giving up more. The Capitals give the opposing team an average of 3.29 power plays a game and give up an average of 0.55 power play goals per game. The Caps have scored five shorthanded goals and given up nine shorthanded goals this year.
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 685th goal and passed Teemu Selanne (684) for eleventh place for NHL Career Goals on 1/13/2020 against the Carolina Hurricanes
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 691st goal and passed Mario Lemieux (691) for tenth place in NHL Career goals on 1/18/2020 against the New York Islanders on the road.
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 692st goal and tied Steve Yzerman (692) for ninth place in NHL Career goals on 1/18/2020 against the New York Islanders on the road
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 693st goal and passed Steve Yzerman (692) for ninth place and tie Mark Messier (693) for eighth place in NHL Career goals on 1/29/2020 against the Nashville Predators at home
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 694st goal and passed Mark Messier (693) for eighth place in NHL Career goals on 1/31/2020 against the Ottawa Senators at home
- Alex Ovechkin recorded his 1268th NHL point and passed Jean Ratelle (1267) for #38 in NHL career points on 2/3/2020 against the Los Angeles Kings at home.
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th goal on 2/22/2020 against the New Jersey Devils on the road
- Alex Ovechkin recorded his second hat trick in two games against the New York Islanders on the road on 1/18/2020 which was the third time he scored hat tricks in two consecutive games, a feat previously only done by Joe Malone (4x) and Wayne Gretzky (3x).
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 25th career hat trick on 1/16/2020, allowing him to tie Cy Dennehy for ninth place on the All Time list
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 26th career hat trick on 1/18/2020 on the road against the New York Islanders, breaking a tie with Cy Dennehy (25) for ninth place on the All Time list and tying Maurice Richard for eighth place
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 27th career hat trick on 2/4/2020, breaking a tie with Maurice Richard for eighth place
- Nicklas Backstrom played in his 941st career game for the Caps and passed Kelly Miller for the fourth most games played in Caps’ franchise history on 2/2/2020 at home against the Los Angeles Kings.
- John Carlson played in his 472st career game with the Caps and passed Brooks Laich (471) for ninth place in games played for the Capitals franchise at home against the Philadelphia Flyers on 2/8/2020
- John Carlson passed Peter Bondra (353) for the eighth most assists in franchise history in a home game against the Ottawa Senators on 1/7/2020
- John Carlson passed Calle Johansson (361) for the most assists by a defenseman in franchise history in a home game against the Ottawa Senators on 1/20/2020
- John Carlson tied Calle Johansson for the most points by a defenseman in franchise history on the road against the New Jersey Devils on 2/22/2020
- John Carlson passed Calle Johansson for the most points by a defenseman in franchise history on 2/23/2020 at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins
- Tom Wilson played in his 500th career game on 1/13/2020 against Carolina Hurricanes at home
- Dmitry Orlov played in his 500th career game on 2/2/2020 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home
- Carl Hagelin scored his 100th career goal on 2/23/2020 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home
Illness and injury
Evgeny Kuznetsov – 2/13 – 2/17 (3 games)
Ilya Samsonov – 2/4 (1 game)
Tom Wilson – 12/28 (1 game)
Milestones in Sight
Braden Holtby – One shutout shy of passing Olie Kolzig (35) for the most shutouts in Capitals’ history
Alex Ovechkin – One hat trick shy of tying Bobby Hull (28) for seventh place in career hat tricks.
Stats obtained from Natural Stat Trick, Hockey Reference.com, NHL.com, and Quanthockey.com
By Diane Doyle