Welcome to the 12th 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 42 games) and the current stats and rankings for today (after 45 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 this week’s snapshot with an underwhelming 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on home ice. They then lost both games in a home-and-home set with the Philadelphia Flyers; 5-3 in Philadelphia on Wednesday and 3-1 in Washington on Saturday night.
There is plenty of red in this weeks statistics, as most key categories took a hit. Both the power play and penalty kill dipped for the week, as did the Capitals ‘goals for’ rate. Shots for and against also saw a dip, but it was extremely minor and they remain ranked in the same spots as last week. Penalties drawn and penalties taken also experienced a drop-off.
While the Capitals Corsi For (CF%) actually improved this week, the remainder of the Capitals possession metrics took their first sizable drop for the first time in many weeks. We actually began to see these stats stagnate and show signs of dropping [signs of a wobble?] beginning in last weeks trends. As noted in “signs of a wobble?”, the start of the Capitals decline directly aligns with the absence of John Carlson, although that can’t be directly attributed at this level of analysis.
Positives were scant this week. Even in the win over the Blue Jackets, the Capitals underlying stats were less than impressive, with the Jackets outperforming the Capitals in many key statistical categories.
The Capitals goaltending continues to be the rock for the Capitals, as they have actually improved their standing in the league. The tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren are now the 8th nest in the league.
The following graph plots the Capitals team goaltending rankings throughout the course of the 2022-23 season: [Click to enlarge].
The Capitals faceoffs have also been steadily improving for the last two months and is very close to topping the 50% mark for the first time this season. [Click to enlarge]
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Capitals begin the week with a tilt against the Islanders in New York on Monday. They then return home to host the Minnesota Wild the following night at Capital One Arena. The Capitals then head back on the road for their annual trip to Colorado, Las Vegas and Arizona.
By Jon Sorensen