East Division Status Report: How The Capitals Rank In Team Statistics Within The Division

With 22 games of the abbreviated 56-game regular season now in the books for the Washington Capitals (approximately 40%), we continue our periodic divisional assessment with a look at how each team in the East Division is performing to date.

In this post we will review for each team in the East Division:

  • Goals Against and Goals For Averages, and Differential
  • Power Play, Penalty Kill and Special Teams Index
  • Goaltending – 5v5 Save Percentage
  • Shots For and Shots Against, and Differential
  • 5v5 Possession And Shot Metrics

[Data compiled for games through March 3. Data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com]


In a “typical” season, the Goals For and Goals Against stat is a simple way of gauging a single team’s performance. In a season such as this where teams are only playing within the division, the stat holds more water, and is much more indicative of the strengths and weaknesses within the division.

As anticipated, four teams are averaging more goals for than goals against: Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals.

The following graph represents the delta between the two stats for each East Division team.

The Islanders have the greatest positive best differential, followed by the Bruins, Flyers and Capitals. The Sabres have the greatest negative differential, followed by the Devils, Penguins and Rangers.


The following special teams chart is fairly straightforward, simply plotting power play conversion rates (orange) and penalty kill success rates (blue), and includes each teams special teams index, which is simply the summation of both (red).

The Capitals are second in the division in power play percentage (28.10%) behind the Buffalo Sabres. They are fourth in the division in penalty kill (80.60%), behind the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and New York Islanders and third overall in the special teams index (PP%+PK%) at 108.70, behind the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres.


Earlier this week we presented a breakdown and ranking of each of the goaltenders in the East Division. In this piece we present the cumulative save percentage for each team at 5v5.

The Devils have the best team save percentage at even strength, followed by the Islanders, Rangers and Capitals. Stick taps to rookie Vitek Vanecek who has kept the Capitals in nearly every game, and a solid reason why the Capitals remain atop the division.


Three teams are averaging more shots for (blue) than shots against (orange) so far this season: The Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and New York Rangers.

The Bruins are averaging the most shots for per game while also leading in least shots against. The following graph presents the overall differentials for each team.


The Capitals have the sixth ranked shots for/shots against differential at -0.70.

The following graph plots four different possession and shot metrics for each team in the East Division.

  • Shot attempts – Corsi For (CF% – blue)
  • High-Danger Shot Attempts (HDCF% – Cyan)
  • Shooting percentage (SH% – Green)
  • Scoring Chances For (SCF% – Red)
  • Expected Goals For (xGF% Orange)

The Capitals are sixth in the division in shot attempts for (59.23%), just ahead of the New York Rangers (47.71%) and the Philadelphia Flyers (47.37%), although this number has been on the rise for the Capitals in the last 12 games.

The Capitals are tied for 3rd in expected goals for (xGF%) at 50.80%, tied with the Boston Bruins. The New York Islanders (52.79%) and New York Rangers (50.90%) are atop the division.

The Capitals are second in the division in high-danger shots for at 53.09%, just behind the New York Islanders (58.19%).

The Capitals are second in shooting percentage (10.08%), just behind the Philadelphia Flyers (11.87%).


Most mid-season team comparisons are apples and oranges comparisons, as teams have played a wide range of opponents with varying strengths of schedules. This season is different, as all results are head-to-head and contained within the division. As a result, the stats are much more representative of how each team is doing, and much for suitable for team-to-team comparisons.

The Capitals are back in action Friday night for game two of their two game set against the Bruins in Boston. Puck drop is set for just after 7:00 PM.

Data from Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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