Washington Capitals Weekly Trends: Slip Sliding Away?

Welcome to the 15th 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 53 games, and the current stats and rankings for today, after 57 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, MoneyPuck 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 an impressive 2-1 win over the Bruins in Boston last Saturday. The game was followed by a stinker, just 18 hours later, against a well-rested Sharks team on Super Bowl Sunday. This week’s snapshot ended with a 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes on Tuesday night and a 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.


Shots – The Capitals took a hit in most shot-related statistics this week, as goals for and against and shots for and against dropped. The Sharks game, which is a tough one to put a lot of credence in do to the turnaround time, was the main culprit.

Possession Metrics – Most key possession metrics also took a minor hit this week. Again, mostly due to the Sharks game.

Turnovers – The Capitals also took a sizeable hit in turnovers this week.

Goaltending – The Capitals netminding pair has been playable, but underwhelming over the last week.

Charlie Lindgren currently has the ninth highest rate among all netminders while Darcy Kuemper sits right around the league average of 0.389 LDGA/60.


The positives are seemingly scant, but considering the missing personnel and strength of schedule, not overly alarming. The following table presents a few interesting key metrics for games after the All-Star and bye-week break. [Click to enlarge].

Expected Goals Differential – The Capitals posted positive expected goals differentials against the Hurricanes and Panthers, and were close to even with the Bruins. That’s impressive. The dud, again, San Jose and the short turnaround.

High-Danger Area – The Capitals improved in the high-danger area. Again, keep an eye on these numbers as we approach the postseason, as gritty goals are key in the postseason.

Penalties – The Capitals continue to be among the league’s best at penalties, for and against.


The Capitals begin this week’s snapshot with a depleted lineup in the Stadium Series game against the Carolina Hurricanes. They then return home for three critical games against the Red Wings on Tuesday, The Ducks on Thursday and the Rangers on Saturday. They need to get players back starting next week.

The return of captain Alex Ovechkin is unknown, however it looks like Tom Wilson is very close. But for me, keep an eye on the pending return of Nic Dowd. As soon as he’s back look for the immediate reunification of the Protas-Dowd-Hathaway line, the 6th-best overall line in all of hockey this season. And they are 4th liners.

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.
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8 Responses to Washington Capitals Weekly Trends: Slip Sliding Away?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting numbers this week. More specifically the expected goals numbers.

  2. franky619 says:

    Hey Jon, how do you feel about Backstrom now?

  3. Harrison Brown says:

    We need to start winning some games, and now!

  4. James says:

    That 4th line data is so interesting! The Caps’ over-performance for so much of this year was anchored by these guys and included players we don’t regard as “stars”. Sure, Ovi scores a lot, but he doesn’t win a lot of games. I hope management recognizes this.

    • Anonymous says:

      They haven’t been playing all that bad, and considering the opponents, pretty good.

      • hockeydruid says:

        They have been playing like doggie dodo! What team are you watching? Getting outscored 13-6 the last 3 games is very bad and sad to say but falling behind Pitt is not looking good while only 1 point ahead of the Islanders. They are a team that is 20th in PP production and that is terrible. I have a question for you Anon…..do you understand hockey at all or are you just a homer?

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