Postgame Analytics: Shut Out and Sent Out of the Bubble

Photo: @Capitals

In what is likely Braden Holtby’s last game as a Washington Capital, the Caps’ offense never got started in a 4-0 rout at the hand of the Islanders, losing the series 4-1. With a pair of goals by Anthony Beauvillier, the Isles were able to sit back and force the Caps to try to pierce their 1-3-1 neutral zone trap. The Capitals could never generate enough high danger chances to score against Semyon Varlamov, who posted his third game of the series without giving up an even strength goal against.

This will be an interesting offseason for General Manager Brian MacLellan, who has a lot of work to do to bring the team back to the caliber we’ve seen in his tenure as general manager.

Here are the head-to-head advanced analytics, statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick:

Blue Jackets (10)

This is where the possession metrics are misleading. Sure, the Caps owned the majority of shot attempts, but many of those were blocked or low danger chances.

On top of that, the Islanders really sat back in their neutral zone trap for pretty much the entire third period, daring the Caps to beat the 1-3-1 trap. The Caps couldn’t do it, and couldn’t muster a goal against the Isles.

Ultimately, the Caps didn’t show the level of desperation they did in Game 4. The energy wasn’t there tonight, the offense wasn’t crisp, and the defense had miscues at inopportune times.

The Islanders, with 11 shots on goal during 5 on 5 play, had their one even strength goal scored off of a high danger chance. Even with the Caps owning possession throughout the game in regards to shot attempts, the Islanders had more high danger chances for. The Caps weren’t able to generate high danger chances, and that’s the difference when the Isles’ goaltending has been spectacular all series.

At the end of the day, you cannot win a series without being able to score at five on five play. One Capital scored at even strength all series: Alex Ovechkin. You aren’t going to win games if you’re getting that level of scoring in the situation where you’re most commonly playing. You’re not beating any team in a seven game series if that’s the case.

Here are some more graphics, courtesy of Money Puck:

d2w gm 5Not much to see here. The only reason the Isles’ deserve to win percentage isn’t higher is because the simulation assumes league average goaltending.

xg player gm 5

This graphic is demoralizing. There was no desperation to the Capitals play. This effort isn’t exactly what’s going to fuel a historic 3-0 series comeback.

xg team gm5

This just speaks for itself. The Islanders controlled the game because they came up big on special teams and managed risk at even strength. The Caps threw 21 shots on goal during 5 on 5 play, and only 3 of those were high danger shots. Expected goals are heavily weighted by quality of chances. Low quality shots don’t typically turn into goals, and typically means you aren’t going to win 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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3 Responses to Postgame Analytics: Shut Out and Sent Out of the Bubble

  1. Anonymous says:

    3 5v5 goals all were OV easily the most talented person in the series when it comes to goal scoring. Vrana with his speed&nearly 30 goal season was a ghost all series, and the bottom 6 was a non factor.. Kovy looked washed, Hagelin is only good for pk, Panik same, great on pk but not much else. They need to find bottom 6 scorers like Conno&Burakovsky were in 2018. So that means going out and getting them or trusting young prospect like Mcmichael full time next year, and get some more mmph.. too like when they had Beagle&Dsp in bottom 6 for a team like Nyis. See what the bolts did after getting waxed last year? They added Maroon and Blake Coleman and Barkley Goodrew througgout the lineup..all big body bangers, tough guys&grit guys

  2. steve says:

    They never looked in sync except for Ovi, Oshie and Kuvi. Holtby looked uninspired the past two seasons and has never had a smile on his face. It’s time for Holtby to move on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Holtby uninspired? We mustve watched different teams. Holtby. 5v5 play has not been the same since Trotz walked out the door and the eye test or analytics show it via the game after game over 82& then again in postseason giving up all the high danger chances. Meanwhile 5v5 offensively having perimeter game. Thats a coaching&schematics issue and a lack of depth issue.
      But Holtby Slander wont be tolerated when he routinely gives up 2 or less goals in playoffs. He hed have multiple SCs.. with his nearly spotless playoff resume.. with a better group around him, willing to work for it… Like some other teams

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