Washington Capitals And Shots On Goal: Average, Consistent, Steady Or Stagnate? It’s Yours To Call

When I was kicking around title ideas for this post I was somehow reminded of the old Joe Walsh album, “You bought it, you name it.” And while I considered using some form of the title for the post, I ultimately found it a little too brusk.

However, the underlying meaning in the Joe Walsh title ultimately aligns fairly well with the focus and the metrics associated with the Washington Capitals shots on goal per game average so far this season. Consistent? Average? Steady? Stagnate? They are all appropriate descriptors. In the end, it’s best described by your own personal perspective.

[Data utilized in this post is provided by Natural Stat TrickMoney PuckNHL.com and NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics model. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the terms utilized in this post you can check out our NHL Analytics Glossary.]

Shots Per Game Average

The first graph simply plots the Capitals rolling shots on goal per game average after each game played this season. [Click to enlarge].

Through all of the team’s injuries, COVID absences, lineup flux and miscellaneous minutiae that the Capitals have endured this season, their shots on goal per game average has remained remarkably constant (or stagnate, steady, average, etc., depending on your perspective).

Beginning on November 17th, when their average began to level out, the Capitals have been right around 31.5 shots on goal per game average. That’s where it sits today.

League Ranking

So the Capitals have been consistent in their shot production for the entire season. What does this mean in comparison to the rest of the league? To add a little more color to the painting I’ve included the following graph for the Capitals league ranking in shots on goal per game average after each game this season.

The Capitals leveled out on December 17th at 15th best in shots on goal per game average, and, with the exception of a brief blip is January, they have been 15th ranked ever since. That’s also remarkable. [There are 26 data points from January 24th to today on the graph above – it just plots as a straight line].

Additional Context

Steady, Consistent, stagnate works both ways, and is a badge of honor when you are among the league’s best.  The next graph plots the Capitals shots on goal against average after each game this season. [Click to enlarge]

You may first come to the conclusion that the Capitals are steadily giving up more shots on goal per game, and you would be technically correct. However, the increase from 28.8  shots on goal allowed average in December and their current average of 29.3 shots on goal allowed per game is essentially negligible – a half a shot per game more. The Capitals currently give up the 6th fewest shots on goal per game.

League Ranking

The final graph plots the Capitals league ranking in shots on goal against average for the season. It should be noted that the Capitals have been in the top 8 in shots on goal against average for the entire season, and spent a good portion of the season in the top three (fewest shots on goal against).

The Capitals have essentially slipped from third ranked in mid December to sixth ranked in the league today. Not too shabby.

So where do you land? Steady? Stagnate? Consistent? Underwhelming? Maybe it says a lot about this edition of the Washington Capitals? Maybe it doesn’t? Maybe you have a descriptor of your own.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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3 Responses to Washington Capitals And Shots On Goal: Average, Consistent, Steady Or Stagnate? It’s Yours To Call

  1. Anonymous says:

    As players return from injury and the lineup returns to full intention, o would think shots on goal per game should increase.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    For what it’s worth – (Sh/Gm – Sa/Gm)

  3. Anonymous says:

    These trends all seem to lineup. Fast, above average start to the season, followed by a leveling out to somewhere in the middle of the pack.

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