Darcy Kuemper Strong Again In Capitals 3-2 Shootout Loss To Hurricanes: Post-Game Analysis

Photo: @Capitals

The Capitals ended their stretch of four consecutive road games with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Monday night. Darcy Kuemper shined, again, stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced (.943%) in the loss.


With the absences of T.J. Oshie and John Carlson, the Capitals made a few tweaks to the starting lines and pairs. Connor McMichael replaced T.J. Oshie and Matt Irwin replaced John Carlson.

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Connor McMichael — Evgeny Kuznetsov – Marcus Johansson
Aliaksei Protas — Lars Eller — Anthony Mantha
Beck Malenstyn — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Dmitry Orlov — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson — Matt Irwin

Darcy Kuemper got the start in goal for the Capitals. Frederik Andersen got the nod for the Canes.

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


The Hurricanes struck first with a power play goal early in the first period. The shot was deflected, giving Kuemper no chance at making the save.

The Capitals had two power plays of their own in the first frame. The first man advantage was squandered trying to setup in the zone, which they finally accomplished with 15 seconds remaining in the power play. The second power play was a little better, setting up in the zone with 40 seconds remaining, but they were unable to convert.

Hurricanes led 1-0 after 20. The Canes gained an edge in possession around the 12 min mark. They led in shots on goal (SOG) 11-5 and 5v5 shot attempts, 17-8. However, scoring chances were tied 5-5, with the Capitals leading in high-danger chances, 3-1 and xGF .38 to .22. Canes led faceoffs 57-43%.


The Capitals tied the game less than two minutes into the middle frame with a gritty goal by Dylan Strome.

The Capitals had their third power play midway through the middle fram, and this time they converted, with Alex Ovechkin denting the twine. The Canes had two man-advantages in the middle frame but came up empty on both.

The Canes tied the game late in the period on a shot from the point that was redirected for the score. Again, little that Kuemper could do to make the stop. The Canes had the majority of a second power play in the waning moments of the period but we’re unable to convert.

The game was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes. It was a fairly even period, with the Caps leading  in SOG 7-6 (Canes lead 17-12 after 40 mins.) Caps led in 5v5 shot attempts 10-9. Scoring chances were tied 3-3 and high-danger chances 2-2. Caps lead in xGF .86 to .71. Canes lead faceoffs 55-45%.


The Capitals extinguished the remainder of the Canes power play, then followed with a power play of their own, but this was more like the Capitals’ first two man advantages, with very little zone time.

There were two 4-on-4 situations that followed penalties and embellishments of penalties on both sides, but no damages were done by either side.

Marcus Johansson was called for tripping with 1:55 remaining in regulation, but the Capitals penalty kill survived a heavy barrage of chances by the Canes, sending the game to overtime.


Lars Eller was called for tripping midway through the extra frame, but the Capitals penalty kill shut it down. The extra period would go scoreless.

The Canes won it in the shootout. Kuznetsov scored in the shootout. Ovechkin and Strome did not.


The Hurricanes ended up leading in shots on goal 35-20. Hard to win many games like that, but the Capitals have found a way in the past, typically because of Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren.

The Capitals were 1 for 4 and the Hurricanes 1 for 6 on the power play. The Capitals penalty kill and Darcy Kuemper earned the point for the Capitals on this night.

Carolina won the battle at the dot, 55-45%.


The Capitals top line did very well on Monday night, with all three players well over the 50% threshold for expected goals for percentage. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansen and Connor McMichael’s line were by far the worst of the four lines.

Lars Eller’s line also under performed. The Nick Jensen and Martin Fehervary defensive pairing was the best on the Capitals blueline.

xGF% at 5v5 for season to date. Last update, Anthony Mantha was the only player over 50%. Now six players are above the threshold. Some improving, some….not so much.


  • Darcy Kuemper turned in another gem, stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced for a .943 game save percentage. Kuemper stopped 10 of 12 high-danger chances. He had an expected goals against of 4.10 for a goals differential of +2.10. Both of Kuemper’s goals were redirected, giving him very little chance to make a stop.
    Connor McMichael
    had a team low 6:53 of time on ice, and a team low expected goals for percentage of 3.18%. It’s likely a trip to Hershey is coming for McMichael, so that he can restore his confidence and his game.
  • Nic Dowd led all Capitals skaters in hits with 6.

The Capitals, now 5-4-1, get right back to work Tuesday night when they host the Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena.

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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10 Responses to Darcy Kuemper Strong Again In Capitals 3-2 Shootout Loss To Hurricanes: Post-Game Analysis

  1. Anonymous says:

    What is going on with CMac. Last season his minutes were low, but he produced. Not the same story this season. Very strange.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      It’s perplexing. Tonight he was in a nice spot in the slot for a good scoring chance and the puck hopped on him. He needs a break. My feeling is his confidence is at an all-time low, at least since I started watching his games and tracking him in 2019. He doesn’t look the same on the ice. I keep thinking (hoping?) a goal is all he needs. That may need to come in Hershey.

    • Lance says:

      McMichael’s role isn’t clear. Laviolette doesn’t trust him to play 3C or anywhere, really. He was drafted as a C. He developed well as a C. But hasn’t been able to establish himself as a C in the NHL. I would stick him at 3C and let him figure it out. He’s going to have growing pains. Who doesn’t? There’s nothing for him to prove at Hershey. He graduated from there. McMichael showed tons of potential last year and Lavi still didn’t play him. We’re not exactly the 1983 NY Islanders or 1988 Oilers. We’re probably about 60-1 to win the Cup. Laviolette hasn’t defined his role and he won’t give him ice time to work on his game. It’s a classic case of mishandling a prospect. Mojo makes hilarious blunders all over the ice and still gets loads of ice time. Lavi is sabotaging McMichael.

      I have to say that Strome is playing well at 2C. Just solid play from him. 50 pts, maybe?

  2. Anonymous says:

    It’s nice to see that top line finally get one, 5 on 5. I thought they’ve been steadily coming together, generating more chances and it looks like the analytics back that up. Having another Center that can play with Ovi, especially once Tom gets back could give us a decent 1-2 punch down the middle whilst Nicky is out.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Yep, top line has been gradually improving, coming together on this road trip. I also agree on another center. C-Mac was a hopeful, but that does t look to be materializing right now.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for sprinkling the analytics into the reports. It’s a great compliment to the eye test watching at home.

        Yeah, I feel for the kid because the talent is clearly there. It’s a bad sign that I completely forgot he was playing until he missed the coverage on that second Carolina back door goal. I get that management is wary about sending him down because it might damage his confidence even further but the NHL is a tough league and there is no shame in taking a little extra time to develop. He didn’t even get a full year in Hershey if I remember correctly.

        • Anonymous says:

          And that’s why I don’t understand this fanbase and their demand for Mcmichael to play more. When he has played, he’s nonexistent and makes mistakes in the D zone that cost us a goal. Yet they will say it’s hard to impact the game when you only get 7 mins a night. He did impact the game he had a blown coverage in our D zone that resulted in a goal against. Sure lets keep giving him more minutes because he’s earned his ice time. No player should just be given more ice time because he is “young” he has to earn it. Protas has simply outplayed him and so has Beck.

          • Anonymous says:

            That was not his man on the goal. He was covering his man at the point. Too many other caps (Ovi) were on the other side of the ice.

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

    Capitals goaltenders currently have the third and 4th best save percentage in the Metro – the best goaltending tandem in the Metro:

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