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Due to the remainder of the 2019-2020 NHL regular season being cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is time to do the fourth and last quarterly assessment of the Washington Capitals’ 2019-20 season. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle looks at the fourth quarter of the Capitals’ season (see first quarter review here, second quarter review, and third quarter review here). The fourth quarter for this season was an incomplete quarter in which just nine games were played, instead of the usual 20 games.
The Capitals ended the 2019-2020 regular season with a 41-20-8 record and finished in first place in the Metropolitan Division title with 90 points in 69 games, the fifth consecutive season in which they’ve done so. Within the conference, the Capitals had the third-most points, finishing behind the Atlantic Division-winning Boston Bruins, and Tampa Bay Lightning. They posted a 3-2-2 record during the greatly truncated fourth quarter as they edged out the Philadelphia Flyers by one point.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Of the Capitals’ 41 wins, 31 were won in regulation, with six overtime wins that did not go to a shootout, and three shootout wins. They lost eight games in overtime, with three of those eight 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, 4-7-1 in February, and 2-1-2 in March. Additionally, the team has gone 18-10-5 at home and 23-10-3 on the road.
The team performed better on the road than at home. relatively consistently, both home and away. At home, they sported a 18-10-5 record, a win percentage of .545, and points percentage of .621. On the road, the Capitals went 23-10-3, a win percentage of .639, and a points percentage of .681. Oddly, the Caps finished with a losing record against their own division, going 11-12-2, but had a winning record against each of the other divisions in the NHL. Their overall record against the Eastern Conference was 18-10-5 and their record against the Western Conference was 16-6-4.
The Capitals scored 236 total goals, which finished tied for third-most in the league with the Colorado Avalanche, and was 28 more than the league average of 208. They gave up 212 goals, which was 15th-worst in the league, and was four more than the league average. They scored 24 goals more than they gave up. Note: the “Goal Differential” shown for them in the NHL standings is +25 rather than +24. By having a 4-3 record in shootouts, they net one extra point in goal differential. The Caps finished with a 10-8-0 record in contests that required overtime or a shootout.
- Alex Ovechkin – 48
- T.J. Oshie – 26
- Jakub Vrana – 25
- Tom Wilson – 21
- Evgeny Kuznetsov – 19
- John Carlson — 60
- Nicklas Backstrom — 42
- Evgeny Kuznetsov — 33
- Jakub Vrana – 27
- John Carlson – 75 (15 goals; 60 assists)
- Alex Ovechkin – 67 (48 goals,19 assists)
- Nicklas Backstrom – 54 (12 goals; 42 assists)
- Jakub Vrana – 52 (25 goals, 27 assists)
- Evgeny Kuznetsov – 52 (19 goals; 33 assists)
General Analysis of Offense
The Capitals as a team scored 236 goals, which, as mentioned above, is 28 more than the league average of 208, with Alex Ovechkin scoring just over 20% of the team’s goals. There is a large drop off from Ovechkin to the next highest scorer on the team, T.J. Oshie, who scored 26 goals, followed closely by Jakub Vrana with 24 goals, Tom Wilson with 21 goals, and Evgeny Kuznetsov with 19. There are also four other players who reached double figures in goals.
The Caps scored an average of 3.42 goals per game, which was the second-best number in the league during the regular season, and gave up an average of 3.07 goals per game, which is the 18th-best number in the NHL. They are above the NHL average of 2.97 goals scored and slightly below average in giving up goals.
The team ranked 11th in the league in shots per game with 32.0 and gave up an average of 30.2 shots, ninth-best in the league. Both numbers are better than the league average of 31.3. Their shot percentage of 10.7 tied for second place with the New York Rangers and is above the league average of 9.5. The team won 48.3% of their faceoffs, which ranks 28th in the league.
5-on-5 (Even Strength) Points:
In the Advanced Statistics department, the Capitals’ PDO (added Shot Percentage and Save Percentage) was 100.7, which ranks eighth overall in the league.
The Caps have attempted 2,206 shots and yielded 2,084 shots for a +122 differential. The team’s Corsi Percentage sits at 51.2%, while their Fenwick Percentage stands at 50.8%. In addition, their Scoring Chance For Percentage is 52.4%, which puts them fifth in the league.
Individual Shots For (Corsi For, CF%)
Starting goaltender Braden Holtby played in 48 games, starting 48, and recorded 1,243 saves on 1,385 shots for a Save Percentage of .897, after a truncated season of 69 games, which sits below his career Save Percentage of .916. He finished the shortened season with a 25-14-6 record.
Rookie backup netminder Ilya Samsonov played in 26 games, started 22, and finished with a 16-6-2 record for the year, with a Save Percentage of .913 in his debut campaign. He made 629 saves on 689 shots, and became the fastest rookie goaltender in franchise history to win 10 games.
The team’s overall Save Percentage for the season finishes at .898, which ranks 28th in the league and below the league average of .905. Note: the team’s listed Save Percentage is lower than the combined Save Percentage of the Capitals’ goalies of .903, because the statistics include empty net goals.
For the season, the Capitals scored 42 power play goals on 216 power play opportunities for a conversion rate of 19.44%, which ranks 18th in the league. The team’s power play was in a scoring drought since the beginning of the season, and for much of November and December. For October, the conversion percentage sat at 25.4%.
The Capitals’ Penalty Kill percentage for the year is 82.57%, as the team killed 199 penalties in 241 opportunities, ranking them sixth out of 31 teams. The Caps finished second in giving up the most power play opportunities, with only the Carolina Hurricanes giving up more. The Capitals gave the opposing team an average of 3.49 power plays a game and gave up an average of 0.61 power play goals per game. The Caps scored six shorthanded goals and gave up nine shorthanded goals this year.
- Carl Hagelin played in his 600th career game on the road against the Minnesota Wild on 3/1/2020
- Oshie played in his 800th career game against the Philadelphia Flyers at home on 3/4/2020
- Ovechkin won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, along with David Pastrnak, marking the ninth season in his career in which he either led or tied for the lead in goals.
- John Carlson had the most points for a defenseman during the 2019-20 season
Capitals Milestones within Reach (for Next Season)
- Braden Holtby – One shutout shy of passing Olaf Kolzig (35) for first place on the franchise shutout list
- Brenden Dillon – Two games shy of 600 career games
- Alex Ovechkin – Two goals shy of tying Mike Gartner (708) for seventh place on the All Time Goals list
Injuries and Illness
No new injuries or illness for fourth quarter
The Road Ahead
The Caps will play a round robin tournament with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Boston Bruins, and the Tampa Bay Lightning to determine the order of the top four seeds in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After that, they will wait for the results of the play-in round to determine their opponent in the first round of the playoffs.
By Diane Doyle
Stats obtained from Natural Stat Trick, Hockey Reference.com, NHL.com, and Quanthockey.com