Lightning Hand Capitals First Regulation Loss – By The Numbers

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Capitals kicked off their tough road trip in the Sunshine State with their first regulation loss against the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Lightning, 3-2. The Capitals had their opportunities to score in this one, but all-world goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy erased all but two of those chances. Rookie Brett Leason scored his first NHL goal in the first period.

Let’s take 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.

The possession stats are a bit skewed towards the Capitals due to a desperate effort in the third period to tie up the game. The Bolts controlled CF% in the first two periods (59.09% in the first, 52.17% in the second), but actually gave up more scoring chances and high danger scoring chances through those first two frames. The Capitals controlled the xGF share in the first period (66.14%), but were unable to dent the twine more than once.

Although the Capitals showed some desperation in the third period, the Bolts controlled scoring chance generation (58.33%) and HDCF% (66.67). Tampa outpaced the Capitals during 5-on-5 play with two goals to the Caps one.

Let’s take a look at how each line performed:

Each line had pretty solid performances. The biggest eyesore is the Hagelin – Eller – Hathaway line giving up 66.67% of high-danger chances for while they were on the ice. Their role is to be more of a shutdown line, and in order to deliver on that moniker, they need to limit high-danger chances against. The Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Wilson line had another strong effort during 5-on-5 play, and were unlucky to not tally a score in that game situation.

As mentioned earlier, Leason scored his first NHL goal on what appeared to be a harmless shot from the half-boards that ended up redirecting off of Victor Hedman and into the net. Leason’s goal is a good example of the chaos that can be created when you funnel shots toward the goal.

Let’s take a look at the pairings:

The Fehervary – Carlson pairing had a big bounce back performance. They skated the most ice time during 5-on-5 play, and had the results to back it up. They might have gotten a bit more ice time during 5-on-5 play because, for the first time this season, the van Riemsdyk – Schultz pairing struggled mightily. The TvR – Schultz pairing saw a lot of Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli, which certainly can impact performance.

The Orlov – Jensen pairing had some trials and tribulations early (especially Orlov), but that pairing ended up putting together a solid performance. It just ended up being one of those nights where chances were ending up as goals for the opponent.

Summary

The Capitals need to bounce back for Thursday’s matchup against the red hot Florida Panthers. The Capitals may face another red-hot Russian goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky, who is putting up a .944 save percentage and a 1.81 goals against average so far this season. The Panthers are 8-0-1, and are likely the deepest team the Capitals have faced so far this season.

We’ll see if Laviolette changes anything up in the lineup. On a veteran team, it’s tough to keep the older players fresh when there are two players in the lineup that play fewer than six minutes in a game (Leason with 5:58 total ice time; Aliaksei Protas with 3:52 total ice time). It’s clear that Laviolette doesn’t trust the young guys, but with TJ Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Nic Dowd on the mend, he might not have much choice.

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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3 Responses to Lightning Hand Capitals First Regulation Loss – By The Numbers

  1. Anonymous says:

    Tough game. This would be a great 7-game series once we get all our players back and Kucherov returns. Tough game for Schultzy and TvR.

  2. DC Scappeli says:

    hard to dominate for long stretches from the high danger areas and still come away with nothing. Vasi was well positioned, he made the stops. Caps need to get some more depth scoring, contributions from the other lines. Eller and Mantha need to get going and pot a few.

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