Caps Scoring Chances thru Oct 16, 2010

jeff-schultz-slapshot

Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images

With five games in the books, I survived my first week of logging scoring chances, including DVRing the game Saturday night and catching up Sunday. If you haven’t read it already, my first post explains what I consider a scoring chance. As always, you can see this spreadsheet on Google Docs where I update them every week.

The Caps are getting their money’s worth for Jeff Schultz, who hasn’t had a goal against yet – and that includes leading the Caps in PK minutes with only allwoing a paltry three scoring chances against a man down. When he signed the contract extension this summer, I wrote Schultz could be “one of the NHL’s best bargains two to four years from now. If not sooner.” So far, so good.

On the flipside we have John Erskine, who is the only Capital with a negative scoring chance differential in double digits. Put another way, the Caps give the opposition 2.5 more scoring chances for every 15 minutes Erskine is on the ice. Some of this can be explained because he is being used mostly in the defensive zone as Coach Bodreau’s shutdown blueliner. When John Carlson, the other half of this new shutdown pair is only a minus 2, what explains the rest of it?

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Caps Steal Two Points in Nashville. Win 3-2 in OT.

Brooks Laich deflects home Alex Ovechkin's shot from the point as the Caps steal a win in Nashville, 3-2.

Brooks Laich celebrates his OTGWG. (Photo Credit: Joe Howell)

With Tom Poti and Mike Green out due to injury, we all knew that the Caps’ defense was going to be a little bit suspect tonight. But really, the main issue for the visiting team ended up being their collective effort. Case in point was the opening face-off where Tomas Fleischmann lost the draw cleanly to Cal O’Reilly. He then turned and watched helplessly as Steve Sullivan raced past his four other unprepared teammates and went in alone on Michal Neuvirth.

But for Neuvy, it was no big deal. He stone-walled Sullivan 8 seconds in. He stone-walled five Predator powerplays, including 29 seconds of a 5 on 3. And he made 37 saves in total to collect his fourth straight win.

Thanks to ten minutes of actual hard-work in the third period and two minutes of pure domination in the extra session, the Capitals leave Bridgestone Area with a huge 3-2 character victory.

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