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.
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