Sunday, February 14, 2021

Washington Capitals: That Was The Week That Was - Week 5

Week 5 for the Washington Capitals was a one-game week, and it was a bust at that.  By week’s end, the fine start to the season, at least insofar as wins and losses were concerned, were a memory.  The Caps posted their second consecutive losing week, but they had a full week to ponder their situation before beginning Week 6 as games with Philadelphia and Buffalo (the two-game set) were postponed due to COVID issues.  Fitting for an abbreviated week, we take an abbreviated look at the week that was.

Record: 0-1-0

One game, one loss, one ugly 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.  The details are here

Offense: 4.00/game (season: 3.58 / 2nd)

Four goals would be enough to win most games.  In 300 games in which they scored four or more goals since 2010-2011, the Caps won 268 times (14 losses in regulation, 18 extra time losses). They did not win their 301st game in that span of four-goal games. 

Defense: 7.00/game (season: 3.58 / 27th)

In that same span of time, starting with the 2010-2011 season, the Caps allowed seven or more goals only 13 times.  They lost in every instance, as one might expect (0-10-3).  They lost their 14th instance, too.

Goaltending: 6.07 / .727 (season: 3.27 / .895)

Not a good week, but at least Craig Anderson saw his first action as a Capital.  The bad news…he gave up a goal on the first shot he faced as a Cap, coming into the game in relief of Vitek Vanecek, who was excused from duty after two periods, the first time he was pulled in his NHL career.

Power Play: 1-for-1 / 100.0 percent (season: 37.0 percent / 1st)

One shot, one goal, one successful power play, 23 seconds elapsed.  When you have Alex Ovechkin, those things can happen.  But one power play?  Not enough.

Penalty Killing: 4-for-4 / 100.0 percent (season: 81.4 percent / 13th)

Four shorthanded situations, four penalties killed, one shot on goal allowed in eight minutes of shorthanded ice time.  Hard to do better, except for the four shorthanded situations part.  Too many.

Faceoffs: 21-for-44 / 47.7 percent (season: 46.7 percent / 27th)

Not a good week, not a terrible week.  A “typical” week.  Dowd had a good week in this category, though.  Backstrom, not so much.

Goals by Period:

That third period.  The goal 31 seconds into that period by Sean Couturier to give the Flyers the lead took all the air out of the Caps’ balloon.


The slippage in recent games is clearly evident here, as the Caps have dropped under the performance level of last year’s club through 12 games in almost every category.  Even the improvement in power play efficiency is largely cancelled by 35.7 percent fewer power play chances, year over year.

In the end…

When does a “slide” become a “slump?”  The Caps have lost three consecutive games in regulation, something they did not do all last season and have not done since they lost four in a row – Games 45-48 – in 2018-2019 (that came during an overall seven game losing streak of 0-5-2).  The Caps are teetering on the brink of “slump,” something they can avoid with getting their full roster intact once more and a good Week 6 that starts against their long-time rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on Sunday afternoon.

Three Stars:

  • First Star: Tom Wilson (1-3-4, even, four shots on goal, seven shot attempts, three credited hits, one takeaway, one blocked shot in 21 minutes of ice time, 3:34 of it on penalty kills)
  • Second Star: Alex Ovechkin (2-2-4, minus-1, four shots on goal, nine shot attempts, two credited hits, one blocked shot)
  • Third Star: Nicklas Backstrom (1-2-3, even, three shots on goal, three shot attempts, one takeaway)