The Capitals struggled to score during 5-on-5 play for the first time this season, and ultimately dropped the contest against the upstart Red Wings in overtime. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied goals for the Caps.
Let’s a look at a few of the key advanced analytics for the overall 5-on-5 performance between the two squads. 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. To note, this analysis does not include overtime, since the extra frame is played 3-on-3.
The Capitals just couldn’t find a way to score during 5-on-5 play. They owned the majority of scoring chances, high danger scoring chances, and shots for during 5-on-5 play, but Thomas Greiss was able to keep them off the score sheet. This marks the first time this season where the Caps weren’t able to pot a 5-on-5 goal.
Luckily, with these underlying stats, coming up empty on scoring goals during 5-on-5 play is going to be the exception to the rule. The Caps dominated the chances, especially those of the high danger variety, but converting on those chances is what matters.
Let’s take a look at each line’s performance:
The elephant in the room (or in the table) is how dramatically bad the Hagelin – Dowd – Hathaway line was tonight. That being said, the fourth line was asked to match up with Dylan Larkin’s line, and kept them off the score sheet during 5-on-5 play.
The interesting piece, and why the advanced statistics are always a supporting factor to evaluate play and not the end-all-be-all: the Mantha – McMichael – Oshie line put up dominant statistical numbers here, but were on the ice for both of Detroit’s regulation goals. That’s not saying they played poorly, but the opposite; sometimes the puck doesn’t bounce in the direction you think it will.
The Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Wilson line keeps humming along, and they generating a game-high nine scoring chances and a game high six high danger scoring chances. To put this in perspective, the Red Wings had a total of four high danger chances tonight.
The Sheary – Eller – Lapierre line’s statistics look dominant, but they only skated 5:39 in ice time together tonight. It’s pretty clear that Laviolette doesn’t trust Lapierre enough to put him on the ice very much in the third period, but it’s surprising that Sheary and Eller were also in the bottom three for ice time during five on five play tonight.
Here’s the defensive pairings:
Another game, another solid showing for the TvR – Schultz pairing. They’ve been consistently solid so far this young season, but it’s another interesting usage figure for them. They’re treated as the third pairing in terms of ice time, which is fair, but at some point, they should probably pull a bit more even with the Fehervary – Carlson pairing.
The Fehervary – Carlson pairing wasn’t extremely bad, but they were out-chanced, out-shot, and out-shot attempted, meaning they typically were hemmed in their defensive zone when they were on the ice. That’s not exactly where you want one of the top offensive defensemen in Carlson to be most of his shifts.
The Orlov – Jensen pairing was effective once again. They’re skating as the de facto top 5-on-5 pairing based on ice time, and it should probably stay that way. Those two players’ styles compliment each other greatly.
The Caps are going to win more games than they lose when they put up the underlying statistics that we see for tonight’s matchup against the Red Wings. The chances were there to score goals, but sometimes the goalie just wins the matchup. Thomas Greiss won this one for the Red Wings.
By Justin Trudel