Capitals Weekly Trends: Shot Stats Mixed, Possession Metrics Continue To Improve


Welcome to the sixth installment of our Washington Capitals weekly trends report. The regular feature provides a very brief snapshot of the most relevant statistical trends for the Capitals over the past seven days.

The following table lists the Capitals team stats and league rankings for last week (Left side – after 20 games) and the current stats and rankings for today (after 23 games). The colors indicate improving (green) and/or worsening (red) trends over the past week. [Click to enlarge]

[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 NHL Analytics Glossary.]

The week was a good one for the Capitals that ended on a sour note. They saw the return of T.J. Oshie and ultimately went 2-1. They began the week with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Flyers and followed that up with a 3-0 blanking of the Calgary Flames, both on home ice. The week concluded with the only blemish, a 5-1 drubbing to the Devils in New Jersey on Saturday.

NEGATIVES

Shooting Percentage – The Capitals are firing more shots, which is good, but they aren’t converting on those shots. It’s an interesting trend, seeing that the Capitals possession metrics have been improving for the last month. Are they firing anything and everything at the net, including a lot of shots that have little to no chance of finding the back of the net? We will dig into the topic a bit more in a follow-up post.

Goals For Per Game – 5-on-5 scoring continues to be a challenge for the Capitals, and arguably the biggest reflection of the team’s injuries to date. Lines have been continuously changing, with no one line ever really providing any kind of consistent play. However, it should be noted that the Capitals used the same lineup in back-to-back games this week for the first time in 13 games.

POSITIVES

Possession Metrics – The Capitals possession metrics continue to improve, as they have  for the previous four weeks. All key metrics improved again this week, with scoring chances for percentage joining Corsi For percentage above 50%.  High-danger shots and expected goals for percentage continue to trend up and could cross the 50% threshold in the next few games.

Takeaways – The Capitals continue to improve their takeaways per 60, and now have the 9th-best stat in the NHL.

PDO – PDO (called SPSV% by the NHL, is the sum of a team’s shooting percentage and its save percentage) continues to drop well below 1.00 or 100%, which is a sign the team might be a bit snakebit, depending on your beliefs and thoughts concerning the metric.

The Capitals now head west for their annual tour of the Pacific Northwest and games against Vancouver, Seattle, Edmonton and Calgary.

By Jon Sorensen

SEASON TRENDS

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 Capitals Weekly Trends: Shot Stats Mixed, Possession Metrics Continue To Improve

  1. Anonymous says:

    The plummeting shooting percentage is intriguing.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Now that John Carlson is back, you will see the PP% go back down next week. Gus has been a better point. His mobility and crisp passing has helped to create more on the PP, which was needed change. If John’s on the PP, he should be in a spot different than the point. He is also relied upon to prevent shorties, and you may notice that as well, although I think we are overall better this year on that score.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      What about Gustafsson (The Gus Bus, ive dubbed him). He has been impressive on the offensive side, and I even thought Ovi liked his setup passes on the power,play.

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