Welcome to the ninth 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 30 games) and the current stats and rankings for today (after 34 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 Capitals began the week with a 7-3 drubbing of the Blackhawks in Chicago. The team then returned home for a three-game stretch which began with a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. The Capitals quickly rebounded with a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs and and a 4-3 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
Special Teams – special teams took a very slight hit, statistically this week, but the drop in both the power play and penalty kill is essentially negligible. Having said that, the power play is still hovering around the bottom third of the league, which has been an ongoing issue.
Penalties Drawn – The Capitals continue to drop in penalties they are creating, which is an odd stat to consider, and likely not a very big deal. Still, creating power plays is a valuable asset.
Penalties Taken – The Capitals continue to improve in the penalties taken category, and now have the third-fewest penalties taken per 60. They have also dropped their PIM/60 to 8:31, which is up to 12th best in the league.
Turnovers – The Capitals turnovers (for and against) continue the long term improvement.
Shots – Shots For and Against numbers continue to improve, as they have for the last few weeks, following a dismal start to the season. The Capitals shots for per game and shots against per game averages continue to improve on both sides, also a good indicator for longer-term health.
Possession Metrics – The Capitals possession metrics also continue to improve, as they have for the past six weeks. Many of the key numbers have risen above the 50% threshold, which is a potential indicator of long term health for the team.
The Capitals begin the week ahead with a trip to Ottawa and tilt with the Senators on Thursday night. They will then return home for a game against the Winnipeg Jets the following night before a three-day break for the holidays. They will then hit the road for a game against the Rangers on Tuesday night.
By Jon Sorensen