Washington Capitals Second Trimester Review: 2020-21 Season

Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images

In a “typical” season, NoVaa Caps has traditionally reviewed the Washington Capitals’ performance after each quarter. With the 2020-21 season being an abbreviated 56-game season instead of the normal 82-game season, we will change our tack and review the team’s performance at each trimester.

This review covers the team’s middle 19 games, including the games against the New Jersey Devils on April 2 and April 4. The first trimester can be found here.

Standings

After 38 games, the Caps have a 25-9-4 record with 54 points, are currently in first place Mass Mutual East Division (two points ahead of the New York Islanders and four points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins), and have a points percentage of .711, which ranks first in the division. Only one other NHL team, the Florida Panthers, have more, with 56 points and lead the Discover Central Division. Other teams with 54 standings points include the Colorado Avalanche (Honda West Division leader) and Tampa Bay Lightning (second in the Discover Central).

Inside the Numbers (Wins and Losses)

Of the Capitals’ 25 wins, 20 were won in regulation, three were won in overtime that did proceed to a shootout, and two were won in a shootout. They have lost four games in overtime, with two of those four overtime losses coming in a shootout.

Breaking down numbers by month, the Caps were 6-0-3 in January, 6-5-1 in February, 11-3-0 in March, and 2-1-0 in April so far. They are 13-4-2 at home and 12-5-2 on the road.  They are 13-0-4 in games decided by one goal or less and 5-6-0 in games decided by three or more goals.

Scoring

The Capitals have scored 130 goals, which is 26 more than the NHL average of 107 goals, and have given up 115 goals, which is eight goals worse than the league average. Their Goal Differential is +15.

The “Goals For” and “Goals Against” totals in the NHL.com standings board are listed as 131 and 117 given that teams are credited with an extra “Goal For” for shootout wins and debited an extra “Goal Against” for shootout losses. In the case of the Capitals, they won one shootout and lost two shootouts so their “Goals For” and “Goals Against” totals reflect this.

Team Leaders

Goals

  • Alex Ovechkin — 19
  • Nicklas Backstrom – 13
  • T.J. Oshie — 11
  • John Carlson, Jakub Vrana — 10

Assists

  • Nicklas Backstrom – 26
  • John Carlson — 22
  • T.J. Oshie, Justin Schultz — 16
  • Alex Ovechkin — 15

Points

  • Nicklas Backstrom 39 (13 goals, 26 assists)
  • Alex Ovechkin – 34 (19 goals, 14 assists)
  • John Carlson – 32 (10 goals, 22 assists)
  • T.J. Oshie – 27 (11 goals, 16 assists)

More complete team offensive statistics are in graphic below. (Click to enlarge).

 

General Statistical Analysis

Goals 

  • Of the 130 goals scored this season, 106 were at even-strength, 22 were on the power play, and two were scored shorthanded; four goals were scored on an empty-net.
  • Of the 115 goals they gave up, 91 were at even-strength, 20 were on the opponents’ power play and four were when the opponent was shorthanded.
  • The Capitals have scored eight empty-net goals but have yet to score when their own net was empty. The opponents scored four times when they had an empty-net, and six times when the Caps’ net was empty.
  • The Capitals have scored 53 goals during 5-on-5 even strength situations while the opponents scored 43 goals at 5-on-5 even strength.
  • The Caps have averaged 3.43 Goals Per Game, which ranks tied for fourth in the league with the Edmonton Oilers, while their Goals-Against Average is 3.19, which is seventh-worst.
  • The team’s leading goal-scorer this year is Alex Ovechkin who has 19 goals, followed by Nicklas Backstrom with 13 goals. T.J. Oshie has 11 goals, while two other players, Jakub Vrana and John Carlson, have 10 goals, and Tom Wilson has nine.

Analytics Statistics

  • The Capitals have taken 1,055 shots on goal and given up 1,101 shots. At Even-Strength, they have taken 846 shots and opponents have taken 872 shots. Their overall Shooting Percentage is 12.1%.
  • Corsi For Percentage — Washington’s Corsi For Percentage (CF%) at even-strength is 48.96%, which ranks 17th in the league.
  • Fenwick For Percentage – The Capitals’ Fenwick For Percentage (FF%) at even-strength is 48.78, which ranks 20th in the league.
  • Shots For Percentage – The Capitals’ Shots For Percentage (SF%) at even-strength is 49.24%, which ranks 19th in the league.
  • Goals For Percentage – The Caps’ Goals For Percentage (GF%) at even-strength is 55.49%, which ranks sixth in the league.
  • Expected Goals For – The Capitals’ Expected Goals For Percentage (xFG%) at even-strength is 50.02%, which ranks 16th in the league.
  • Scoring Chances – The Capitals’ Scoring Chance For Percentage (SCF%) at even-strength is 49.93%, which ranks 16th in the league. They had 696 scoring chances and 689 scoring chances against.
  • PDO — Washington’s Percentage Driven Outcome (PDO) at even-strength is 1.025 based on a shot percentage of 11.35% and a Save Percentage of  91.17, or expressed in three digits as .912.

Below is a breakout of players’ offensive statistics at 5-on-5 even-strength to detail the goals, primary, and secondary assists.

Goaltending

Rookie goaltender Vitek Vanacek has played in 26 out of the team’s 38 games this year, starting 25 of them. He has made 656 saves on 723 shots for a Save Percentage of .907 and a Goals-Against Average of 2.71, and has a 15-6-3 record for the year; his 5-on-5 Save Percentage is .919.

Second-year netminder Ilya Samsonov has played in 13 games, starting 12 of them. He has made 301 saves on 340 shots for a Save Percentage of .896 and a Goals-Against Average of 2.87; his 5-on-5 Save Percentage is .899.

Craig Anderson has made one start this season thus far.

The Capitals’ goaltenders as a whole have made 986 saves on 1,093 shots for a Save Percentage of .902.

Special Teams

For the season, the Capitals have scored 23 power play goals on 94 power play opportunities, for a conversion rate of 24.5%, which currently ranks seventh in the league.

The Caps’ Penalty Kill percentage is 82.6%, as they have killed 95 penalties of 115 opportunities, which ranks ninth out of 31 teams. They give the other team an average of 3.02 power plays a game and give up an average of 0.53 power play goals per game. The Capitals have scored two shorthanded goals and given up four shorthanded goals this year.

Milestones Achieved

  • John Carlson tied Scott Stevens (66) for most career multi-assist games against the New Jersey Devils on the road on 2/27/2021.
  • Alex Ovechkin tied Mike Modano (489) for 27th place in power play points against the New Jersey Devils on the road on 2/28/2021.
  • Justin Schultz played in his 500th career games against the Boston Bruins on the road on 3/3/2021.
  • Nicklas Backstrom earned his 700th career assist against the Boston Bruins on the road on 3/5/2021
  • Nick Jensen played in his 300th career game against the New Jersey Devils at home on 3/9/2021
  • John Carlson recorded an assist on 3/9/2021 against the New Jersey Devils and recorded an assist on 3/16/2021 against the New York Islanders to pass Calle Johansson (257)  for ninth place in franchise history for Points recorded at home.
  • John Carlson recorded 500th career point against the Philadelphia Flyers on the road on 3/11/2021
  • John Carlson scored a goal against the Flyers on 3/11/2021 and recorded two assists on 3/13/2021 to tie and pass Mike Ridley (243) for seventh place in franchise history for points on the road
  • John Carlson tied Sergei Gonchar (187) in power play points for Capitals players on 3/13/2021 on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers and passed Gonchar in power play points at home against the New York Islanders on 3/16/2021.
  • Alex Ovechkin passed Jaromir Jagr (5,637 shots) for the second-most shots in NHL history against the Philadelphia Flyers on the road on 3/13/2021
  • Nicklas Backstrom passed Calle Johansson (983) for the second-most games played in franchise history against the Buffalo Sabres on the road on 3/15/2021
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded his 400th career point against the Buffalo Sabres on the road on 3/15/2021. Kuznetsov became the 18th player in franchise history to reach the 400-point mark and the seventh player in franchise history to reach the mark before his 500th game, reaching it in his 497th games
  • Alex Ovechkin tied Esposito for sixth place in all-time Goals Scored against the Buffalo Sabres on the road on 3/15/2021
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 1,300th career point and passed Phil Esposito (717) for sixth place in career goals at home against the New York Islanders on 3/16/2021
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov passed Kevin Hatcher (277) for 13th place on the Capitals’ All-Time Assists at home against the New York Islanders on 3/16/2021
  • John Carlson passed Mike Gartner (392) for the fourth-most assists in franchise history at home against the New York Rangers on 3/19/2021
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov and Richard Panik played in their 500th career game on 3/20/2021 at home against the New York Rangers on 3/20/2021
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 453rd career even-strength goal at home against New Jersey Devils on 3/25/2021 which allowed him to moves him past Mark Messier for seventh in NHL history.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov tied Bobby Carpenter for 16th on the Caps’ Game-winning goal list (22) with a game-winner at home against New Jersey on 3/25/2021
  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 132nd game-tying goal on 3/25/2021 against the New Jersey Devils at home, tying Joe Sakic for third place in NHL history. The only two players with more: Wayne Gretzky (139) and Dave Andreychuk (137).
  • Alex Ovechkin became the first player in Capitals history to record at least 400 even-strength points as he scored a goal and recorded an assist at home against the New Jersey Devils on 3/25/2021.
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 148th career multi-goal game and passed Gordie Howe (147) for sole possession of fourth place on the NHL’s all-time list at home against the New Jersey Devils on 3/25/2021.
  • Brenden Dillon recorded his 100th career assist at home against the New Jersey Devils on 3/25/2021
  • Alex Ovechkin scored the game’s first goal for the 124th time in his career, behind only Jaromir Jagr (135), Brett Hull (131) and Gordie Howe (127) for the most in NHL history at home against the New Jersey Devils on 3/26/2021.
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 810th career even-strength point, tying Brendan Shanahan for the fourth-most among left wingers in NHL history behind only Johnny Bucyk (922), Luc Robitaille (881) & Bobby Hull (817) at home against the New Jersey Devils on 3/26/2021
  • Garnet Hathaway played in his 100th game with the Capitals at home against the New York Rangers on 3/28/2021
  • John Carlson recorded the 113rd and 114th goals of his career, allowing him to tie and then pass Calle Johansson (113) and Mike Green (113) for most goals scored by a Capitals defenseman on the road against the New York Islanders on 4/1/2021
  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 265th power play goal, which tied Brett Hull (265) for the second most power play goals in NHL history, on the road against the New Jersey Devils on 4/4/2021
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his 23rd game-winning goal which tied Bobby Gould and Steve Konowalchuk for 14th place in game-winning goals on the road against the New Jersey Devils on 4/4/2021
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded his 116th power play point to tie Bobby Carpenter (116) for 20th in team history on the road against the New Jersey Devils on 4/4/2021

Milestones in Sight

  • Alex Ovechkin – With two game-winning goals on home ice, Ovechkin would tie Gordie Howe for third all-time in game-winning goals scored at home.
  • Alex Ovechkin — Three game-winning goals away from tying Phil Esposito for third all-time in game-winners (118).
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov – One overtime goal needed to tie Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green (eight goals) for second on the Capitals’ All-Time list and one overtime goal needed to pass both Backstrom and Green for second all-time on the Caps’ list.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov – Two shootout goals needed to become the third Capital with 20 in his career (Ovechkin: 34; Backstrom: 27).
  • Nicklas Backstrom – Three assists shy of passing Daniel Alfredsson (713) for the fourth-most assists by a Swedish-born player in NHL history
  • John Carlson – Five assists shy of 400 career assists
  • John Carlson – Two game-winning goals needed to tie Michal Pivonka (27) for 10th on the Caps’ all-time list.
  • Brenden Dillon  — One assist shy of 100 in his NHL career.
  • Zdeno Chara — One goal to tie Larry Robinson (208) for 22nd on the all-time goal scoring list among defensemen.
  • With one game-winning goal, Chara would tie Larry Murphy and Mathieu Schneider for 12th on the all-time list among defensemen. With two, he would tie Kevin Hatcher for 13th.

Injuries/Illness

T.J Oshie – 2/7 (1 game)
Jakub Vrana – 2/7 (1 game)
Justin Schultz – 1/30-2/7 (4 games)
Evgeny Kuznetsov – 1/22-2/7, 2/27-2/28 (10 games)
Ilya Samsonov – 1/22-2/7 (8 games)
Connor Sheary – 2/4 (1 game)
Lars Eller – 1/28-2/4, 3/15-3/28  (11 games)
Dmitry Orlov – 1/22-1/28,  (4 games)
Alex Ovechkin – 1/22-1/28 (4 games)
Tom Wilson – 1/24 – 1/26 (2 games)

By Diane Doyle

Related Reading
Capitals Have Been The NHL’s Third-Most Injury And Illness Prone Team So Far This Season
Washington Capitals First Trimester Review: 2020-21 Season
Natural Stat Trick Team Table
Hockey Reference: NHL 2021

Statistics obtained from National Stat Trick, Hockey Reference, Quanthockey, and NHL.com.

By Diane Doyle

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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