Capitals Stifle Avalanche – A Look At The Numbers

In their first matchup with a team from the Western Conference since March 1st, 2020, the Capitals firmly handled the Stanley Cup favorite Colorado Avalanche 6-3. The Capitals controlled the pace of play in all situations, and ended up scoring five goals at even strength.

Let’s take 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 metrics from 5-on-5 play against the Avalanche:

There’s only really one word to describe this performance by the Caps, and it’s dominance. At every level, the Caps owned the advantage, generating more shot attempts, more goals for, more high danger chances, and more overall scoring chances. The only period that was even relatively close was the third period, where the Caps only had 47.83 CF%, but still generated more high-danger chances and the only even-strength goal of the period.

Here’s how each line performed:

This was the real “coming out party” for the Ovechkin line at even strength. Evgeny Kuznetsov was arguably the best forward on the ice against the Avalanche.

The best overall line for the Caps was the Sheary-McMichael-Oshie line. They were dominant in every shift, and we’re just unlucky that their effort wasn’t rewarded with a goal. T.J. Oshie really generated chances with his creativity on the rush, but the line wasn’t able to tally.

The Mantha-Eller-Sprong line is a confounding one. They don’t seem to have the chemistry that the other three lines have, but ended up scoring tonight, and putting up much improved advanced stats compared to their performance against Tampa.

For example, the Eller line put up a 40 CF%, 28.57 FF%, 0 HDCF%, 50 sF%, 20 SCF%, and a 9.37 xGF%. The paltry 9.37 xGF% against Tampa was definitely elevated tonight, entering the low 60s. It’s either a matter of time that this line breaks through, or they’re broken up.

Here’s how the defensive pairings fared:

The more and more we see from the van Riemsdyk-Schultz pairing, the more impressive they are together. To put their season in perspective, through three games, they are putting up a line of: 60.78 CF%, 61.76 FF%, 63.64 SF%, and a 64.99 xGF%.

Realistically, all three of the pairings’ performances were dominant. It’s fairly uncommon for a team’s entire defensive corps to look this solid. Usually there’s a considerable drop-off from a team’s top pairing to their third pairing, but that’s not the case so far this season for the Caps. Seems like all three pairings are well balanced and can generate scoring chances on the rush and defend effectively.


If we see more performances like tonight’s this season from the Caps, it’ll be hard to miss out on the playoffs. At this point, it’s unlikely that we’ll see major lineup changes, and it’s even more likely that we’ll see Connor McMichael back in the lineup for the tilt in New Jersey on Thursday.

Overall, the Capitals look like a much more refreshed team after an early exit from the playoffs last season, mainly due to the build up of injuries to the team’s veteran core. If the Caps can stay healthy and continue to get solid goaltending from both goaltenders, the potential for a playoff run is there.

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.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Capitals Stifle Avalanche – A Look At The Numbers

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

  2. Pingback: Wednesday Caps Clips: Boulders Busted

  3. Mark Eiben says:

    For anyone who wants to know, Fehrevary had a blunder or two early in the first period but was very good the rest of the way. His skating helps him a lot and he was really good at getting a few shots on net and was close once with getting a goal himself. He’s still green but does not look like a liability at all.

Leave a Reply