An Analytical Comparison Between Capitals And Round-Robin Opponents

Patrick Smith:Getty ImagesPhoto: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Earlier this week, we took a look at how the Washington Capitals matched up against their three round-robin opponents offensively, defensively, between the pipes, and in special teams. NoVa Caps takes an even deeper look at how they fare (five-on-five) against the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Philadelphia Flyers through analytics.

Capitals

Moneypuck: The Capitals finished the regular season with a 2.48 expected goals per 60 at five-on-five and 2.44 against while they also posted 56.8 shot attempts for per 60 and allowed 53.2, besting the other three teams in this category. They outperformed their expected goals for per 60, scoring 2.86 goals-per-60.

Natural Stattrick: The Capitals’ 51.6% Corsi-for percentage tied the Colorado Avalanche for seventh in the NHL while their 51.33% Fenwick-for percentage (shots on goal and missed shots for vs. against) tied the Toronto Maple Leafs for ninth. Their 51.2% expected goals-for percentage was slightly above the league average, placing 13th and their 51.8% scoring-chances for percentage was ninth.

Charting Hockey: The Capitals completed the season with a 1.005 PDO (the sum of a team’s shooting percentage – 9.6% – and its save percentage – 90.9% – at even strength), the worst of the four teams.  Their .243 average goal-differential per game was also the worst.

Bruins

Moneypuck: The Bruins posted a 2.25 expected goals-for per 60, which was more than half a goal per game less than the Capitals, and 2.07 expected goals-against, the best among the four teams. However, they actually topped their expectations as they posted 2.47 goals-per-60. The team recorded 53.6 shot attempts per 60, more than three worse than the Capitals, and yielded 51.6, better than Washington.

Natural Stattrick: They might have finished with the best record, but their 50.85% Corsi-for percentage was the worst out of any of these four teams and ranked 12th in the league. Their 50.92% Fenwick-for percentage was also better than the middle of the pack, finishing 11th. Their 51.67% expected goals-for percentage ranked 10th and 51.53% scoring-chances for percentage 11th. So overall, the Bruins’ deeper numbers hover around the same area, at the top of the second-third of the NHL but nothing screams “Presidents’ Trophy.”

Charting Hockey: The Bruins tallied a 1.02 PDO during the regular season (8.6% shooting percentage compared to a 93.4% save percentage). They outscored their opponents in PDO by 63.1% per game on average.

Lightning

Moneypuck: The Lightning averaged 2.61 expected goals-for per 60, the highest of any of these teams, and 2.22 against. In terms of actual goals-for per 60, the Lightning did better than their expected number with an average of 2.84. They averaged 55.35 shot-attempts for per 60 and 50.63 against.

Natural Stattrick: The Lightning’s 52.25% Corsi-for percentage was slightly better than the Capitals, finishing fifth in the NHL, as was their 51.57% Fenwick-for percentage (sixth). They also topped the Capitals with a 53.73% expected goals-for percentage and a 54.14% scoring-chances for percentage, both of which ranked third.

Charting Hockey: The Lightning posted a 1.022 PDO (10.3% shooting percentage vs. 91.9% save percentage) during the regular season, slightly edging the Bruins for the best of the four teams. They tallied a .707 average goal-differential, the highest.

Flyers 

Moneypuck: The Flyers had a 2.49 expected goals-for per 60 and 2.43 against, around the same as the Capitals, better than the Bruins, but worse than the Lightning. The Flyers averaged 2.73 goals-for per 60. The Capitals, Lightning, and they were all in the same area in this category while the Bruins were well below. In shot attempts per 60, the orange and black averaged 52.93 for and 50.8 against.

Natural Stattrick: The Flyers were slightly worse than the Capitals in Corsi-for percentage (51.02%), where they ranked ninth in the NHL. Like the Bruins, they were hovering around the top second-third of the league with a 50.88% Fenwick-for percentage (11th), 50.64% expected goals-for percentage (15th), and 50.91% scoring-chances for percentage. While they were running hot in the previous two months before the pause, the numbers here suggest that they were playing average.

Charting Hockey: The Flyers tallied a 1.009 PDO (9.7% shooting percentage combined with a 91.2% save percentage). They had a .334 average goal-differential.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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1 Response to An Analytical Comparison Between Capitals And Round-Robin Opponents

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    Boston’s analytics seem to scream, “Regression to the Mean is at hand”. In other words, a worse than expected playoff performance than expected for a President’s Trophy team. While Tuukka Rask is a great goalie, this year’s save statistics are significantly better than his norm. They could get halaked in one of the early rounds.

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