Washington Capitals Third Trimester Review: 2020-21 Season

Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

In a “typical” season, NoVa 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 final 18 regular season games, beginning with their game against the Boston Bruins on April 8.  The first trimester can be found here. The second trimester can be found here.

Standings

The Capitals ended the 2020-21 regular season with a 36-15-5 record and finished second in the MassMutual East Division, behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the Capitals and the Penguins had the same number of standings points with 77, the Penguins had one more win and one more win in either regulation or overtime, so they won the division on the tie breaker, posting a record of 37-16-3. Their record during the last trimester was 11-6-1. The Penguins had gone 13-4-1 during their last 18 games to overtake the Capitals in the standings.

Inside the Numbers (Wins and Losses)

Of the Capitals’ 36 wins, 29 were won in regulation, four were won in overtime that did proceed to a shootout, and three were won in a shootout. They have lost five games in overtime, with two of those five 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, 9-5-1 in April, and 4-2-0 in May. They are 17-8-3 at home and 19-7-2 on the road.  They are 19-5-1 in games decided by one goal or less and 10-9-0 in games decided by three or more goals.

Scoring

The Capitals have scored 188 goals, which is 26 more than the NHL average of 162 goals, and have given up 161 goals, which is one less than league average. Their Goal Differential is +17.

The “Goals For” and “Goals Against” totals in the NHL.com standings board are listed as 191 and 163 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 three shootouts and lost two shootouts so their “Goals For” and “Goals Against” totals reflect this.

Team Leaders

Goals

  • Alex Ovechkin — 24
  • T.J. Oshie — 22
  • Nicklas Backstrom – 15
  • Conor Sheary — 14

Assists

  • Nicklas Backstrom – 38
  • John Carlson — 34
  • Justin Schultz — 24
  • T.J. Oshie — 21

Points

  • Nicklas Backstrom 53 (15 goals, 38 assists)
  • John Carlson – 44 (10 goals, 34 assists)
  • T.J. Oshie – 43 (22 goals, 21 assists)
  • Alex Ovechkin – 42 (24 goals, 18 assists)

More complete team offensive statistics are in graphic below.

General Statistical Analysis

Goals 

  • Of the 188 goals scored this season, 148 were at even-strength, with 131 at 5-on-5 even-strength, 38 were on the power play, and two were scored shorthanded; four goals were scored on an empty-net.
  • Of the 161 goals they gave up, 127 were at even-strength, with 107 at 5-on-5 even-strength, 26 were on the opponents’ power play and eight were when the opponent was shorthanded.
  • The Capitals have scored nine empty-net goals and scored three times when the other team had an empty net. The opponents scored six times when they had an empty net, and 11 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 3.48 Goals Per Game, which ranks tied for fourth in the league with the Florida Panthers, while their Goals-Against Average is 2.88, which is fifteenth-worst.
  • The team’s leading goal-scorer this year was Alex Ovechkin with 24 goals, followed by T.J. Oshie with 22 goals, followed by Nicklas Backstrom with 15 goals, and Conor Sheary with 14. Two other players, Tom Wilson and Daniel Sprong had 13 goals.

Analytics Statistics

  • The Capitals have taken 1,647 shots on goal and given up 1,612 shots. At Even-Strength, they have taken 846 shots and opponents have taken 872 shots. Their overall Shooting Percentage is 11.4%.
  • Corsi For Percentage — Washington’s Corsi For Percentage (CF%) at even-strength is 50.64%, which ranks 12th in the league.
  • Fenwick For Percentage – The Capitals’ Fenwick For Percentage (FF%) at even-strength is 50.32%, which ranks 14th in the league.
  • Shots For Percentage – The Capitals’ Shots For Percentage (SF%) at even-strength is 50.41%, which ranks 12th in the league.
  • Goals For Percentage – The Caps’ Goals For Percentage (GF%) at even-strength is 55.04%, which ranks eighth in the league.
  • Expected Goals For – The Capitals’ Expected Goals For Percentage (xFG%) at even-strength is 51.82%, which ranks 12th in the league.
  • Scoring Chances – The Capitals’ Scoring Chance For Percentage (SCF%) at even-strength is 51.78%, which ranks 11th in the league. They had 1105 scoring chances and 1029 scoring chances against.
  • PDO — Washington’s Percentage Driven Outcome (PDO) at even-strength is 1.017 based on a shot percentage of 10.07% and a Save Percentage of  91.64 or expressed in three digits as .916.

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

 

Goaltending

Rookie goaltender Vitek Vanecek played in 37 out of the team’s 56 games this year, starting 36 of them. He made 936 saves on 1,031 shots for a Save Percentage of .908 and a Goals-Against Average of 2.69, and had a 21-10-4 record for the year; his 5-on-5 Save Percentage is .918.

Second-year netminder Ilya Samsonov played in 19 games, starting 18 of them. He made 450 saves on 499 shots for a Save Percentage of .902 and a Goals-Against Average of 2.69 and had a 13-4-1 record; his 5-on-5 Save Percentage is .911.

Craig Anderson played in four games, starting two of them. He made 65 saves on 71 shots for a Save Percentage of .915 and a Goals-Against Average of 2.13; his 5-on-5 Save Percentage is .926

The Capitals’ goaltenders as a whole made 1,451 saves on 1,601 shots for a Save Percentage of .906.

Special Teams

For the season, the Capitals have scored 38 power play goals on 148 power play opportunities, for a conversion rate of 25.68%, which ranked third in the league.

The Caps’ Penalty Kill percentage is 83.65%, as they killed 133 penalties of 159 opportunities, which ranks seventh out of 31 teams. They gave the other team an average of 2.83 power plays a game and gave up an average of 0.46 power play goals per game. The Capitals have scored two shorthanded goals and given up eight shorthanded goals this year.

Milestones Achieved

  • 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 third place for the Caps’  franchise for most goals scored by a Caps’ defenseman on the road against the New York Islanders on 4/1/2021.
  • John Carlson played in his 800th NHL career game and recorded his 400th career assist on 4/13/2021 at home against the Philadelphia Flyers
  • 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 for 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 place in team history on the road against the New Jersey Devils on 4/4/2021
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 266th power play goal to pass Brett Hull (265) for second place all-time at home against the Boston Bruins on 4/8/2021
  • T.J. Oshie scored his 250th goal against the Boston Bruins at home on 4/8/2021
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded his 457th even strength to pass Brett Hull (456) for sixth place all-time on the road against the Buffalo Sabres on 4/9/2021
  • T.J. Oshie, the 24th overall selection in the 2005 NHL Draft, became the fourth player from his draft class and the ninth active American-born player to reach the 600-point mark on the road against the Boston Bruins on 4/11/2021
  • Nicklas Backstrom recorded an assist to pass Daniel Alfredsson (713) for the fourth-most assists by a Swedish born player in NHL history on 4/13/2021 against the Philadelphia Flyers at home
  • Anthony Mantha recorded his 100th career assist on 4/13/2021 at home against the Philadelphia Flyers
  • Nicklas Backstrom played in his 1000th NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres at home on 4/15/2021
  • John Carlson recorded two power play points on 4/17/2021 against the Philadelphia Flyers on the road to pass Dale Hunter (191) and tie Bengt Gustafsson (192) for eighth place all-time in Caps history.
  • Zdeno Chara played in his 1,600th NHL game against the New York Islanders on the road on 4/23/2021
  • Anthony Mantha recorded his 200th career point on 4/24/2021 on the road against the New York Islanders
  • Nic Dowd played in his 300th career game on 4/27/2021 against the New York Islanders at home
  • T.J. Oshie scored a power play goal to tie Bobby Carpenter (54) for 11th place in team history against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on 4/29/2021.
  • T.J. Oshie scored two power play goals on the road against the New York Rangers, passing Bobby Carpenter (54), Alexander Semin and Dennis Maruk (55 apiece) for ninth place and tying Michal Pivonka (56) for eighth place.
  • Dmitry Orlov recorded his 200 NHL career point for his against the New York Rangers on the road on 5/5/2021. He was the tenth defenseman to reach that mark as a Capital.
  • John Carlson needs one power play point to tie Dale Hunter (191) for eighth place all-time in Caps history.
  • T.J. Oshie recorded his 300th point for the Capitals’ franchise at home against the Philadelphia Flyers on 5/7/2021. He was the 26th player in franchise history to reach that total.

Injuries/Illness

Alex Ovechkin – 1/22-1/28, 4/24-5/1, 5/5-5/8 (11 games)
John Carlson – 4/29-5/1, 5/8, 5/10 (4 games)
Nicklas Backstrom – 5/8 (1 game)
Evgeny Kuznetsov – 1/22-2/7, 2/27-2/28, 5/5-5/10 (14 games)
Justin Schultz – 1/30-2/7, 4/22-4/27, 5/3-5/7 (10 games)
Daniel Sprong – 5/5 (1 game)
Zdeno Chara – 4/18 (1 game)
Ilya Samsonov – 1/22-2/7, 4/15 (9 games)
Lars Eller – 1/28-2/4, 3/15-3/28 (11 games)
T.J Oshie – 2/7, 5/11 (2 game)
Jakub Vrana – 2/7 (1 game)
Conor Sheary – 2/4 (1 game)
Dmitry Orlov – 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
Washington Capitals Second Trimester Review: 2020-21 Season
Washington Capitals Regular Season Review For Forwards
Capitals Forwards: Performance Analysis After 31 Games
Washington Capitals Regular Season Review for Defense and Goaltending
The Capitals Defense: Annual Performance Review — Part 2
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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