Stars Blank Capitals, 2-0: Post Game Analysis

Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals were blanked by the Dallas Stars 2-0 Thursday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The loss drops the Capitals record to 4-4-0 on the season.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the statistics behind the Capitals loss to the Stars. The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHLAnalytics Glossary


Stars led 1-0 after the first 20 minutes. There was plenty of up and down the ice with very little sustained zone time by both teams. Dallas gained control of possession starting at around the 14 min mark of the period, and mounted a serious attack for a brief period, but Kuemper was strong.

Stars led in shots on goal (SOG) 13-7, shot attempts 23-17, scoring chances 11-7, xGF .94 to .75. They dominated the dot, 68-32%.


No scoring in the second period. The Caps battled back in possession, beginning around the 7 min mark.

Stars lead in shot attempts 36-34, scoring chances 17-14, high-danger chances, 8-7, xGF 1.48 to 1.27 after two periods. Stars owned the dot, 76-24% after 40 minutes of play.


The Stars added a shorthanded goal for the 2-0 final. Nothing was making it’s way across the goal line for the Capitals tonight. You’ll have those games. The advanced stats tell the story of a close game, and it was.

Shots on goal ended tied 27-27. The Stars led in shot attempts, 48-42, scoring chances 22-19, high-danger chances, 9-8, for the game. The Stars led in expected goals for 1.87 to 1.63 and  xGF% 53.47 to 46.53%.


The Capitals did better at creating quality scoring chances in this game than they have in recent games, as several players ended the game over 50%. [Click to enlarge].

Having said that, several players continue to struggle, with the Nick Jensen and Martin Fehervary pairing struggling the most on the blueline. The fourth line also produced very underwhelming numbers in this one.

Season percentages for expected goals for are creeping upwards. However, with the exception of Anthony Mantha, all still remain below 50%.


The Stars dominated the faceoffs, winning 68% of the draws in this contest. Here are the individual stats for the Capitals:

  • Alex Ovechkin 0 for 1
  • Dylan Strome 4 for 12
  • Lars Eller 6 for 16
  • Nic Dowd 3 for 8
  • Conor Sheary 0 for 1
  • T.J. Oshie 0 for 2
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov 5 for 17



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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23 Responses to Stars Blank Capitals, 2-0: Post Game Analysis

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well that went about as well as I expected…

  2. Nice Post. This article is very informative. Thanks!!!

  3. Lance says:

    * The Caps battled. No complaints about their compete.

    * We need to upgrade the D. I would see what Mantha could bring in a trade. He’s a good player and should have some value. But I don’t see Mantha as a difference-maker on this roster. 25 goals, 25 assists. A good, young D man would be a better fit.

    * The number of advertisements on NHL telecasts are breathtaking. The boards move and flash, the ice, the uniforms, constant graphics on screen. Awfully distracting. I’m guessing at least 7,000 advertisements flash by for each game.

    * Lavi is running out of answers.

    * “Playoffs?! What playoffs?? Playoffs????”

    • Anonymous says:

      Good summary. And who was the NFL coach who said that playoffs phrase? I’m drawing a blank, and it was classic.

    • Ryan says:

      It’s not the D that needs upgrading, it’s the whole roster. The game is forever evolving and it’s finally at the point where the Caps aren’t keeping up.
      There is so little sustained offensive pressure. The Caps are not performing and executing at the speed the rest of the game is being played.
      I have a few thoughts.
      1. Most fans are finally mostly correct and the Caps are just getting too old and too slow. (I usually dislike this argument, because often times it can be a nonfactor when a team has good systems)
      2. Lavi’s systems need revamping. (NovaCaps needs to look into and talk more about systems, it’s rarely discussed and one of the biggest factors into teams actually winning… take a hard look at the 1-1-3 implemented after the game 2 loss of Columbus in 2018 – best example you can view online is Kuzy’s goal defeating the Pens – look at that neutral zone setup before the puck is stolen (FYI that’ a Reirden setup…. not a Trotz setup)). You can take a losing team and turn them around quickly with the right style of gameplay. (STL and TB had major shakeups in systems the years they won the cup)
      3. The current offensive roster lacks chemistry. I miss the days of beautiful passing plays. I see too many dirty goals (which are necessary of course) and not enough elite play.
      For the past few years, I’ve always been quick to say – It’s still early at this point in the season, but this team has me doubting that this time. It’s really hard to find upside right now.

      • Lance says:

        Hi Ryan, while Ovie is chasing the record the Caps are not gonna go through a rebuild. They might even be too stubborn to do that after Ovie retires. Given that, our forward group and goalies in better shape than our D. Carlson is the only consistent offensive threat on D and he’s not very effectively defensively these days. Fehervary moves the puck and skates well and competes. He looks like a good, consistent 4 or 5 D to me. Not a dynamic player. Orlov has been really good the last few years. He’s getting some age on him but hasn’t shown it yet. Jensen competes like crazy and is a good 6-7 NHL d man. He’s not a good choice in the second pair.

        The reality there are not nearly enough good D-men in the world for a 32 team NHL. Most teams have glaring weaknesses on D. I do think a legit top 2 D man could patch up this Caps team for a few years. Take the load off Carlson and Orlov. But I don’t really expect it to happen because good D is so scarce.

        • Ryan says:

          I absolutely agree, they’re not going to rebuild anytime soon. True rebuilding takes years, teams that try to do it on the fly tend to fail repeatedly. If things don’t go well this season, I do see more changes than the usual season brings.
          I also agree mostly on your thoughts about the defensemen, except that I think you’re missing the fact that defense also falls on the forwards and the team systems. That is why I think it’s the entire roster, not just the defense. There are pieces we should keep – no doubt. Defensively – Jensen, TVR, Marty and Orlov I’m perfectly fine with. Carlson is so immobile on the ice it’s archaic hockey. Gus is interesting, my vote is still out there on him, it’s early in the season.
          Center is one of the most important defensive positions. Caps are a disaster here except for Dowd.
          To highlight one of my prior points. All of this could be moot if the caps just need a different system. Hockey systems win cups…. it’s why the caps failed miserably under Trotz until all that drama with the coaches in 2018. Lavi’s systems have worked well in the past… I’m wondering if they don’t anymore as this game gets faster and the players more mobile and creative.

          • Lance says:

            I agree that the team’s system is as important as anything. I loved the way they played while Hunter was coach. Other teams hate playing against dedicated defensive teams. At least they used to. Of course, Ovie’s offense sells tickets as well as the unrelenting advertisements all over the Washington Capitals, Inc. product. It’s not so much about winning.

            It’d be cool if they could play Bruce Boudreau’s fun barnburner hockey in the regular season and then tighten down hard defensively in the playoffs. But we never seem to do that.

            You’re right that something is funky with the forwards. Kuzy, god love him, plays zero defense and can’t win a draw. Strome is better at both and maybe he’ll get better with that and add some O. I haven’t seen a lot of Eller. He’s probably slowing down. Dowd is solid at his salary. Even if Backstrom gets back we’re not gonna dominate anyone at the Center position. It’s a problem.

            • Ryan says:

              Ah man would I love some Bruce Offense again! Fun to watch. His systems are offensive genius, but obviously pay for it on defense. It’s a shame there seemed to be tension with Reirden / Trotz. Though Reirden is a defensive coach, he was incredibly offensive in scheme as a head coach. I often wonder if that counterbalance in 2018 is what pushed everything over the goal line. That 1-1-3 neutral trap created so many counter attacks throughout the rest of the playoffs that year. It really helped the caps fend off teams that were so much faster than them.
              I kept up with the isles after Trotz moved on from the Caps to see if he learned anything from that playoff run and he went back to his old collapsing defensive shell. I firmly believe that style of play just doesn’t work anymore. These young guys skate better and shoot better, they will find a way to outpace and outshoot.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I am quite pleased with the way the team played. Defensively they did quite well preventing odd man rushes, and Kuemper didn’t give up a bunch of rebounds, and had a strong game too. This game was stolen by Oetinger. That’s okay. The Caps are still working on their game. The Caps were 0/3 on PP, and gave up a shorthanded goal. This was the difference in the game.

    • Jonathan says:

      The 32% FO ain’t good. We aren’t good in general at FO”s. We’ve had better games, but I sure hope we are more competitive than this. No one on the team had a winning FO pct., as you showed above Jon. Is it natural ability or learned skill? Is it improvable or not? I’ve heard arguments both ways. Even though not ideal, this was not the difference maker in the game. It could have helped though.

      We had only 4 giveaways in the game. That’s a great number. An example of the strong defensive play. The weird exchange of Kuzy and Carlson was upsetting because it was preventable, but I’m giving Carlson a pass on that one. I think Kuzy was more at fault, although they both might share some blame. But there are no mistake free games.

      We just weren’t able to solve Oetinger. Yet.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      The efforts is definitely there.

  5. Zoltán says:

    I hate to see this struggling. The system would work well with much younger team. Lavi should leave, fresh air needed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hope is not a plan.

  7. novafyre says:

    We’ve now dropped to 31st in faceoff %.

    As Alexander Graham Bell said when inventing the telephone, “Beags, come here, I need you.”

  8. Brant Wilson says:

    Long time follower — I now work in data analytics and would love to see your process for creating these charts.

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