Postgame Analysis: Capitals Victorious In Game One, Ends in OT

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The Capitals overcame an early injury to starting net-minder Vitek Vanecek and powered their way to a 3-2 victory in the extra frame. The game was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams locked up at two goals a piece at the end of regulation. Nic Dowd would bring the curtain down in the extra frame.

Overall, the Capitals pulled out a gutsy win with a soon-to-be 40 year old goalie who has played sparingly this season. Goals by Wilson, Dillon, and Dowd powered the Caps’ victory Saturday night, as the Caps look forward to holding that momentum in Game 2 on Monday.

Now, let’s take a look at some advanced stats from tonight’s game:

The key to this game was shot generation, where the Caps owned the majority share of Corsi shot attempts and shots on goal, but the Caps need to improve in high danger chance suppression.

Dangerous Rebounds

One of the issues tonight was Anderson giving up some dangerous rebounds in the slot that could have (and probably should have) resulted in goals against. Anderson weathered the storm and was solid in relief, posting a perfect save percentage at even strength and a .955 save percentage overall with one goal allowed.

Quality Defense

The Caps did a solid job limiting the damage from the Bruins’ top six in Game 1 as well. The so-called “Perfection Line” was solid, out chancing their opponents 7-6 and outshooting their on-ice opposition 9-6, but were ultimately held off the score sheet.

The Taylor Hall, David Krejci, Craig Smith line was limited and was taken advantage of defensively. The Krejci line was on the ice for two of the three goals the Bruins allowed, and didn’t score at even strength.

Forward Lines and Defensive Pairs

The trio of Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, and Anthony Mantha put up solid possession stats, with a 70.83 Corsi For Percentage, a 66.67 Fenwick For percentage, and a 7 to 2 advantage in shots on goal. The Caps’ top line was on the ice for one goal and out chanced their on-ice opponents 11-1 during five on five play. This line, if it continues to play like this, should see some eventual dividends on the score sheet.

The Shutdown Line

The Michael Raffl, Lars Eller, and Conor Sheary line were given the responsibility as a shutdown line, and were given only 18.18% of offensive zone face-off starts. They were routinely matched-up against the dangerous top six of the Bruins, and that line pitched the shutout during five on five play.

They were struggling with possession metrics (41.38 CF%, 40.91 FF%), but were able to funnel some shots on net in the offensive zone as well, generating six scoring chances and 6 shots on goal.

John Carlson

Something to watch for next game: John Carlson’s level of play. Let’s take a look at how he and Orlov had played together tonight, as well as their numbers apart (courtesy of Natural Stat Trick):

Long story short, Carlson really struggled tonight, posting a 39.53 CF%, 35.29 FF%, and a 23.79 expected goals for percentage. To show how much he had struggled tonight, when he and Dmitry Orlov were paired up on the ice, they had a 41.03 CF% and a 36.67 FF%.

Without Carlson, Orlov put up an 83.33 CF%, a 75 FF%, and contributed to four scoring chances for. Carlson, while away from Orlov had a 25 CF% and a 25 FF%, with no scoring chances generated and a 6.38 expected goals for percentage. The Capitals will need much more out of Carlson the rest of the series to be successful.

Summary

This game really came down to quality versus quantity in terms of shots on goal. The Capitals generated the lion’s share of shots on goal, while the Bruins really capitalized on higher value chances.

The Capitals will really have to tighten up defensively to reduce some of the high danger chances generated by the Bruins, and whomever is going to play in net the rest of the series will have to make sure that rebounds don’t stay in the slot for easy pickings.

The Capitals controlled the impact that the Bruins’ top two lines had on the game during five on five play. Following the Capitals’ keys to success during the regular season, scoring during five on five play, the Capitals generated each goal scored tonight during five on five play. That seems like a solid strategy in the series if the officiating looks like it did tonight, with the Capitals only getting one chance on the power play.

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 at a non-profit in Jacksonville, FL. Justin enjoys geeking out over roster construction and cap management.
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