Rising Up: Advanced Metrics Indicate Capitals Playing Top-5 Hockey Since Mid-November

While not going completely unnoticed, the Washington Capitals current level of play has been somewhat overshadowed in recent weeks, and understandably so. While most of the hockey world has been focused on Alex Ovechkin and his pursuit of the all-time goals record, the Capitals have been (rather quietly) playing some of the best hockey in the entire NHL.

In fact, while the chase of the record book garnered most of the spotlight, advanced metrics say the Capitals have been performing at a top-5 level. That’s right, Top 5. Here’s a quick look:

[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 have the third-best expected goals for percentage for the month of December, only trailing Carolina and Toronto, but ahead of league powerhouses Boston and New Jersey. That’s lofty company no matter how you slice it.

So the Capitals have been a top-5 team in the league in expected goals for percentage for the month of December – 12 games. Not bad. But the impressive numbers go back much further than that.


The Capitals impressive play actually covers the last 20 games, since November 13 (and more, as you will see). They have the third-best expected goals for percentage since mid-November.

Again, the advanced metric shows that Carolina, Boston, New Jersey and Toronto are league powerhouses, and that’s hard to argue against, further highlighting the validity of the metric in relation to the Capitals level of play.


We can even go back 25 games, since November 7, and see the Capitals we’re coming on strong as early as the start of November.

The Capitals have the 5th-best expected goals for percentage since November 7, and again, the teams ahead of them, for the most part, are confirmed high-caliber teams.


All of the aforementioned stats reflect an extremely poor start by the Capitals. It’s hard to say why the team had such a horrific start, as injuries had yet to begin mounting for the team.

Yes, it’s easy to surmise that the team wasn’t ready to begin their 2022-23 season, or other teams were better prepared by opening night, and that could fall on Capitals coaching, as well as the players. Either way, the poor start is in the rear view and the Capitals are making up ground.

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.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Rising Up: Advanced Metrics Indicate Capitals Playing Top-5 Hockey Since Mid-November

  1. dwgie26 says:

    The advanced stats confirm the eye test. Caps have been playing good hockey. The systems have been tight. The 5 man rotation, with dee activating, has been impactful. Goaltending and team defense has been helping protect the other side a well. It’s really a lot of fun to watch whether in the building or on TV.

    A big key is consistency in the lineup of players who are grasping and playing within the system. It will be bumpy as we introduce new players back into the mix. Fans are going to need to give them some grace as they too get into the system which we know isn’t an easy one.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      The more I dig into the numbers, the more impressed I have become, and yes, it agrees with the “eye-test”. Really impressive when you consider all of the injuries.

  2. James says:

    Early loss of Connor Brown was devastating.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      No doubt. And longer term, really unfortunate for both player and team. He will be a UFA this off-season. Doubt the Caps have seen enough to fork-out 4+ million on him. He of course will be entering free agency with a serious knee injury. Just a bad deal all around.

Leave a Reply