Bolted Down: Capitals Lose To Lightning In Overtime – A Look At The Numbers

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In what was a tight, defensively focused affair between old Southeast Division rivals, the Washington Capitals squandered away a power play in overtime against the Tampa Bay Lightning, resulting in a Steven Stamkos overtime winner. The Caps move to 1-0-1 on the season.

Let’s a look at a few of the key advanced analytics for the overall 5-on-5 performance between the two teams. If you’d like to learn more about the advanced analytical terms used in this post, please check out our glossary. Statistics in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.

Here’s the overall advanced statistics from regulation against the Lightning. Keep in mind, these are for 5-on-5 play, which does not include OT.

The real eyesore in the overall stats is the differential in high-danger chances (HDCF%). Tampa generated 13 high danger chances during 5-on-5 play. The Capitals generated one, and that came in the first period.

The high danger chances are what’s really responsible for the large differential in expected goals for as well. At the end of the day, though, the Caps put up as many 5-on-5 goals as the Bolts did, but these types of numbers aren’t necessarily conducive to season-long success.

Here’s how each line performed:

There’s pretty much nothing to complain about with the fourth line of Hagelin, Dowd, and Hathaway.

Something’s gotta give with the top nine forwards, though. The Sheary, Lapierre, Oshie line failed to generate any momentum and did not record a scoring chance during five on five play.

The Mantha, Eller, Sprong line was taken advantage of, giving up an expected goals for percentage of 9.37%. It should be expected that Coach Laviolette will be shaking up the top nine after tonight’s loss, perhaps giving Connor McMichael an opportunity.

The Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Wilson line were the only line to generate a high-danger chance. They were the Caps’ second best line tonight behind the fourth line, but that’s not without some glaring issues, namely a lack of suppressing scoring chances against (or at least generating more scoring chances than they allow).

Realistically, it’s the second game of the season. While the advanced, underlying metrics, aren’t exactly shining with excellence, the Caps have played well so far in the “eye-test”. More chemistry should be generated over the season, not to mention, they were only playing the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions tonight.

Here’s how the defensive pairings fared:

The van Riemsdyk – Schultz pairing had a second-straight solid showing. If you’re owning 60% of Corsi attempts and 62.5% of shots on goal while on the ice, that’s a great sign for what may come this season.

The Orlov – Jensen pairing really bounced back after a somewhat mediocre statistical performance in the opener to show more of what was seen last season when these two played together: analytic dominance.

The question for tonight’s performance: is this the baseline performance for the Fehervary – Carlson pairing, or was it the performance on Wednesday’s thumping of the Rangers? On Wednesday, the Fehervary – Carlson pairing put up a 64.29 CF%, a 66.67 FF%, an 83.33 SF%, a 71.43 SCF%, and a 42.19 xGF%. The difference between the two games so far this season for this pairing may just be competition. The Lightning are a better team overall than the Rangers, and that’s probably not a controversial statement to make. Not to mention, Fehervary is still effectively a rookie, and there’s going to be ups and downs as he adjusts to the speed of the NHL.


Through two games this season, the Caps have shown two different types of performances. The thumping against the Rangers in the opener was effectively a complete dominant performance in shot generation and suppression, whereas tonight was a bit more of a tighter feel where Tampa was able to get the better of the Caps in high danger opportunities.

Coach Laviolette may shuffle the lines going forward, mainly to see if there’s any chemistry to match up in the top nine. We know the fourth line is staying as-is, and Laviolette is likely more willing to tinker with the lineup following an overtime loss than he would after a 5-1 victory.

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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2 Responses to Bolted Down: Capitals Lose To Lightning In Overtime – A Look At The Numbers

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

  2. Anonymous says:

    This was the defending champs and the Caps minus Backy were right there. Nice to see IMO

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