The opening round of the pre-playoff playoffs are about to begin in the NHL, and for the Washington Capitals, that means a round robin mini-tournament in which they will face off against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning of the Atlantic Division, and the Philadelphia Flyers of the Metropolitan Division. Before the games begin, let us break down the Caps by the numbers against these three opponents.
6 – The Caps won six of the ten games against the three opponents, losing four of them, as follows:
- Vs. Boston: 2-1-0
- Vs. Philadelphia: 1-3-0
- Vs. Tampa Bay: 3-0-0
27 – The Caps scored 27 goals in the ten games against the three opponents (not including Gimmick goals).
33 – The Caps allowed 33 goals in the ten games.
23 – The Caps dressed 23 skaters in the ten games they faced against the three opponents.
12 – Of the 23 skaters to dress against the three opponents, 12 of them appeared in all 10 games:
- T.J. Oshie
- Evgeny Kuznetsov
- Jakub Vrana
- Tom Wilson
- Dmitry Orlov
- John Carlson
- Lars Eller
- Garnet Hathaway
- Radko Gudas
- Alex Ovechkin
- Jonas Siegenthaler
- Richard Panik
4 – The Caps scored first in four of the ten games against these opponents, winning three times (2-0-0 vs. Tampa Bay, 1-1-0 vs. Philadelphia; they did not score first in any of the three games against Boston).
3 – The Caps played three extra time games against these opponents, winning all of them. They had Gimmick wins against Boston (3-2 on November 16th) and Philadelphia (2-1 on November 13th), and they won in overtime against Tampa Bay (4-3 on November 29th).
3 – The Caps took a lead into the third period three times against these opponents, once against each team. They won all three games.
3 – The Caps went into the third period trailing the Flyers three times in four games. They lost all three games.
10 – The Caps scored ten first period goals against the three opponents in ten games. Half of those first period goals came against the Flyers, against whom the Caps finished 1-3-0. So much for that.
4 – Perhaps the most ominous number in the group. The Caps won the first six meetings against these three opponents but lost the last four, three of them to the Flyers and once to the Bruins.
23 – The Caps allowed 23 goals in the second and third periods, combined, over the ten games. Of that total, 13 were scored by the Flyers. Clearly, the Caps need to be better finishers against that team.
55.16 – The Caps’ shot attempts-for percentage overall at 5-on-5 over the ten games.
46.0 – the Caps’ faceoff winning percentage in ten games against the three teams.
5 – T.J. Oshie leads the team with five goals in the ten games.
10 – Oshie leads the team with ten points in ten games played, as follows by opponent:
- Vs. Boston: 3-0-3
- Vs. Philadelphia: 1-1-2
- Vs. Tampa Bay: 1-4-5
3 – Oshie has multi-point games against each of the three opponents (2-0-2 vs. Boston on December 11th; 1-1-2 against Philadelphia on February 8th; and twice against Tampa Bay – 0-3-3 on November 29th and 1-1-2 on December 14th).
2 – Dmitry Orlov leads the team with two game-winning goals against this set of opponents, both of them against Tampa Bay (an overtime goal in a 4-3- win on November 29th and a third-period goal in a 3-1 win on December 21st). They were his only game-winning goals of the season.
5 – Nic Dowd has a team-best plus-five rating in the ten games against these opponents.
1 – Nick Jensen is the only skater still with the team who has played more than one game against the three opponents (nine) without having posted a point.
21.7 – Oshie is the only Capital with a shooting percentage over 20 percent against the three opponents (minimum: five shots) on 5-for-23 shooting.
1 – Travis Boyd scored a goal on his only shot on goal in two games played against the three opponents (November 16th in a 3-2 win over Boston).
9 – Braden Holtby has nine of the ten starts in goal against the three opponents; Ilya Samsonov had one.
.881 – Holtby’s save percentage against the three opponents (.879 vs. Boston; .857 vs. Philadelphia; .930 vs. Tampa Bay).
5 – Holtby allowed three or more goals in five of the nine games in which he played.
And in the “I would not have thought…” department:
I would not have thought Garnet Hathaway would have more goals against these three opponents (three) than Alex Ovechkin (two).
I would not have thought Ovechkin would have no assists in the ten games.
I might have thought Tom Wilson would lead the team in penalty minutes (he does, with 39 in the ten games), but I would not have thought Richard Panik would be second (20).
I would not have thought Ovechkin would be a team-worst minus-9 against the three teams.
If there are any takeaways from all of this, they might include…
- The Caps, even with a 6-4 record against these teams, seem to have overperformed compared to their underlying numbers. Put another way, they had spiffy shot attempt numbers but otherwise didn’t seem to win the “right” way.
- It would be nice if the Caps demonstrated an ability to beat the Flyers, and that means shutting them down after the first 20 minutes of games.
- Braden Holtby is going to have to pick up his game. Not all games in this tournament will be against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- Alex Ovechkin’ numbers could use improvement. Well, considerable improvement against these teams.
Let the games begin.