Welcome to the 13th 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 45 games, and the current stats and rankings for today, after 49 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 4-3 overtime win over the Islanders in New York on Monday. They then took one on the chin the following night in a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Capital One Arena. The team then headed west and started their three-game western road trip with a 4-0 win over the Coyotes in Arizona. They wrapped-up this week’s snapshot with a 6-2 blowout loss at the hands of the Golden Knights in Vegas on Saturday night.
Power Play – The Capitals power play continues to stagnate and dip for the 5th consecutive week and has ranked consistently around 17-20 since mid-December. [Click to enlarge]
Some will say the absence of John Carlson has hindered the Capitals power play. However, the stats don’t necessarily back that up.
The Capitals had a power play success rate of 20.8 percent when Carlson was injured on December 23. They currently have a success rate of 20.5. The Capitals power play ranked 20th in the league when John Carlson was injured. They are currently ranked 18th in the league
Goals For And Against – The Capitals goals for and goals against average per game dropped for the third-straight week, however, the goals against average remains in the top 10 (10th) in the league. The goals for average dropped as low as 27th in the league in November, but steadily improved until three weeks ago. In contrast to the power play struggles, the recent decline may actually be a direct correlation to the absence of John Carlson.
Possession Metrics – The Capitals possession metrics improved in all key categories after dropping for the previous three weeks. This is a good sign for longer-term health for the team, although they still reside in the middle of the pack in most categories. Again, the team dug themselves a statistical hole in the first 4-6 weeks of the season, and have been trying to climb out ever since.
Faceoffs – The Capitals faceoff winning percentage continues to climb, although it took a hit against the Vegas Knights. They were sitting at 49.92% following the Coyotes game and looking to climb above the 50% threshold for the first time in more than two seasons prior to the game against the Knights.
Penalties Taken – The Capitals continue to reduce their penalties taken, and now are 6th-best in the league in that category.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Capitals begin next week’s snapshot against the Avalanche in Denver for their final game of their three-game road trip on Tuesday. They then return home for a tilt with the Penguins at Capital One Arena on Thursday night. The Capitals then close-out the month of January and next week’s snapshot on the road with games in Toronto next Sunday and Columbus next Tuesday.
By Jon Sorensen