Welcome to the eighth 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 26 games) and the current stats and rankings for today (after 30 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 and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). 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 perfect, results wise. It began with a 3-2 win over the Oilers in Edmonton, followed by a pair of 4-1 wins over the Flyers in Philadelphia and the Seattle Kraken in the District. The week wrapped with a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
Shooting Percentage – really not that much in the way of negative trends for the Capitals, this week. As you can see, there is a lot of green in the table above. The one semi-negative trend is the continuing drop in team shooting percentage, which has been falling for a good portion of the season. The Capitals are firing more and more shots each successive week, so the drop in percentage is not overly alarming, as long as the goals keep coming.
As noted, the Capitals showed improvement in nearly all of the basic statistical categories we are tracking for the weekly trends report, with many of the numbers at a season high. (More here).
Special Teams – The Capitals special teams index (PP% + PK%) continues an upward trend, with the Capitals penalty kill remaining 8th-best in the league after this week.
5-on-5 Goals – A problem for the Capitals for most of the season, the even-strength goals have begun to rebound.
Shots For/Against Average – As we mentioned in a post earlier this week (here), the Capitals shots for and shots against average differential (SF/GM-avg – SA/GM-avg) has been battling to get out of the negative all season, and for the first time this season, climbed into the positive this week.
Possession Metrics – A positive trend that has been underway for more than five weeks now is the improvement to all of the Capitals possession metrics at 5-on-5. It continued this week, with the team’s xGF% climbing above 50% for the first all time all season following the Kraken game (more here). Again, fairly impressive considering the injuries.
The Capitals begin the week ahead against the Blackhawks in Chicago, a game they should be favored to win. They will then wrap the week with a three-game home stand against Dallas, Toronto and Detroit.
By Jon Sorensen