Breaking Down The Capitals Line Combinations

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom share a laugh on the bench.

Neil delivers Caps scoring chances through Nov 14, 2010 (Photo credit: Gerry Thomas)

Despite some terrible second period performances that made me want to use my new iPad as the world’s most expensive frisbee, I still managed to log the scoring chances for the week. I use a specific definition of what I consider a scoring chance based on shot quality data and log everyone who is on the ice at the time using the script from Vic Ferrari. As always, you can find the spreadsheet online.

The three of you that actually read these posts may notice a new format. Let me know if you think this is more helpful.

TOI = Time on ice
GF = Goals for
SCF = Scoring chances for
OffZS% = Offensive zone start percentage


Player TOI (EV) GF (EV) SCF (EV) OffZS% TOI (PP) GF (PP) SCF (PP)
Ovechkin 281.7 15 85 56.3% 81.7 13 62
Backstrom 260.4 13 81 58.1% 60.2 10 47
Semin 235.0 17 73 58.1% 52.9 12 51
Knuble 235.3 6 64 59.8% 40.7 4 20
Laich 204.8 12 62 56.2% 51.8 9 43
Fleischmann 201.9 10 58 52.8% 38.7 3 20
Chimera 203.4 8 47 49.1% 6.5 1 2
Fehr 178.5 7 40 48.7% 30.5 3 19
Johansson 90.0 2 21 59.4% 2.7 0 1
Hendricks 143.3 7 29 53.3% 4.7 0 3
Steckel 126.5 2 19 44.3% 1.2 0 0
Bradley 113.9 7 26 50.1% 0.8 0 0
Gordon 100.7 6 23 35.9% 1.7 0 1

What’s left to say about Alex Semin, who is doing everything he can to prove me wrong. Am I a believer yet? No, but any skater that converts almost a quarter of his chances to goals during both even strength and on the power play is someone that I can learn to love.

Tomas Fleischmann on the other hand is making me look like a genius. Ok, maybe genius is pushing it, but his 15% conversion rate when he is on the PP is the worst on the Caps for any skater with more than 30 min of total PP TOI.

Eric Fehr also continues to show he is more a 15- to 20-goal scorer than a legitimate Top 6 forward, generating only 3.4 chances per 15 minutes when he is on the ice time at even strength. If Boyd Gordon can get healthy I think we see Fehr in the press box more often.

Speaking of Boyd Gordon, despite only starting 36% of the time in the offensive zone the Caps still manage to convert one out of every four chances when he is on the ice during 5v5 play. Please get healthy or this “Vote for Boyd” campaign I have ready to go is going to look stupid.


Player TOI (EV) GA (EV) SCA (EV) OffZS% TOI (PK) GA (PK) SCA (PK)
Jeff Schultz 304.4 9 74 58.5% 59.0 6 21
Mike Green 250.7 7 65 56.3% 42.5 3 18
John Carlson 300.3 12 70 50.1% 39.8 4 19
Karl Alzner 275.6 8 50 55.4% 28.5 3 10
John Erskine 234.9 12 65 42.3% 39.2 3 19
Tyler Sloan 144.0 7 32 52.7% 9.0 2 6
Tom Poti 77.3 5 22 60.7% 12.4 2 6

Mike Green is making his case for the Norris early this year. The offensive part of his game is now bolstered by some tremendous defense, only allowing 11% of scoring chances convert into goals when he is on the ice during even strength and only 17% when a man down. Someone tell him we are on the bandwagon so he unblocks us on Twitter.

I could have put John Erskine up top with the forwards and focused on his scoring but his defense has been solid as well, especially on the PK where he has only allowed only 3 goals against on 19 chances.


Player GA (EV) SCA (EV) 5v5 Sv% GA (PK) SCA (PK) PK Sv%
Braden Holtby 4 19 0.789 1 9 0.889
Michal Neuvirth 26 157 0.834 8 35 0.771

Michal Neuvirth continues to make a case to win the other Calder trophy, but when you look at his scoring chance save percentage, which Buffalo Sabres goalie coach Jim Corsi has said is the true measure of a goalie, we see below average performance. Looking at how the playoff goalies did last year, it seems a scoring-chance save percentage below .850 isn’t good, and with the Caps looking to bring home the Cup, Neuvirth, sitting at .826, shows there is still some more work to be done.

  • VaMedic

    Great work, Like the new formatting too.
    Went back and re-read the definition of scoring chances for this study. Based on that definition, neither the Erskine nor Steckle goals last game were scoring chances…too far out correct?
    Not throwing stones in anyway, seeing if I’m following the model correctly.

  • Danny R

    much easier to read and digest. i support staying with this format

  • Neil – RMNB


    @VAMedic You are correct, where Erskine/Steckel took the shot would not be considered a “scoring chance” by definition, however, I log all goals scored as chances except for empty netters. It is the only way I can get true conversion rates.

  • Adam


    To echo the above, I do like the new format. I also had a question about how to handle when multiple chances occur in quick succession (i.e. when there are two or three hacks at a rebound in the crease area). Do those count as two or three scoring chances or do you lump them together as one chance?


  • Sean

    Bring back a column that shows the scoring chances related to ice time. Otherwise I prefer this formatting.

  • Neil, RMNB

    @Adam rapid hacks at the net are always challenging. Typically I count them as one chance unless 3 secs have gone by. Why 3 secs? No reason other than to have a demarcation.

    @Sean do you mean the chances per 15min? If so that’s always on the Google docs spreadsheet, linked above. I figured since I had the data there I would offer new ratios here. Lmk if you still want them in post.

  • BobbyG

    As one of the “three” who reads this, I give the new format 2 thumbs up for ease of reading. It’s a lot easier on the eyes, and makes the stats and data easier to digest as well. It’s a keeper.

    I agree about Semin. He’s going out of his way to prove me wrong too. But I’m not 100% converted. He’s going to have to part the Red Sea AND walk on water to convince me he’s the real deal. 🙂