Poof! Goes The Offense

Bruce Boudreau: Bummin'

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

Quite the depressing week. We don’t score. We got blown out. People are revolting. He-who-can’t-be-named is now front and center on our site. Despite it all, I still maintain we shouldn’t panic.

This week I am going to take a break from individual scoring chances and look at the team as a whole. I wrote over at WaPo that this is just a string of bad luck and wanted to go a little more in depth. As you probably know by now, 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. You can find the spreadsheet online that summarizes each week, and I promise I will get it up to date in the next few days.

First, I want everyone to see how the Caps have been converting their scoring chances to goals. Or rather how they haven’t. Convert percentage is simply goals-for divided by scoring chances-for. I’ll use a 10-game moving average to help smooth out the highs and lows. Period one on the chart is the average conversion percentage of games 1 through 10, while period two is the average of games 2 through 11, and so on. Stats from the Nov 27 game vs CAR are not included due to NHL.com errors.

Caps convert % on scoring chances - 10 game moving average

As you can see, the Caps had a decent goal conversion rate which skyrocketed (35.7% vs TBL) and then poof! Offense gone. Hello 6-game losing streak.

Here it is in 5-game increments, except for the last six games which I grouped together. Remember, not all goals are scored from “dangerous” scoring areas, so they aren’t logged as chances.

# SCF GF SCF/G Convert%
1-5 82 17 16.4 20.7%
6-10 91 15 18.2 16.5%
11-15 98 20 19.6 20.4%
16-20 78 14 15.6 17.9%
21-25 74 14 14.8 18.9%
26-31 123 8 20.5 6.5%
Totals 546 88 17.6 16.1%

See? They are converting at almost a third of what they consistently did in the games earlier. Plus, they are getting three to five more scoring chances per game. Remember, scoring chances are high quality shots, so it is not as if those extra chances are 60 foot bombs from the point – they are from the “dangerous” areas on the ice.

Now I ask you: if a team is getting more chances per game and is converting on a third less than usual (including a game which saw three shots hit the post in two minutes), does it really mean the coach should be fired?

Didn’t think so.

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  • CDizz

    “ARTICLE VIII: As of Monday night, RMNB is going dark.

    That’s right, people. We’re turning the lights off at RMNB until the Capitals end their winless streak. It’s a drastic measure, but it’s necessary.”
    O rly?

  • HMA


  • JDP

    Yeah what happened to going dark? This is jinxing our next game. Thanks a lot rubes

  • Dominic

    You have mathematically made me worry less. I love that He Who Must Not Be Named is on your page now. I died laughing. When we came in the league in 74, didn’t we lose like 20 in a row? Don’t get me wrong, i’m only 20 years old, but still.

  • Peter

    Going dark meant blackening the site theme and making it gloomy as to exaggerate the direness of the team’s situation in order to end it. Is it not darker now? Yucks on us.

  • DarkStranger44

    Well the blackening the site theme and the ghoulish creature gave me a chuckle. Well, we do need humor to get us through these dark times!

    And there’s a slim glimmer of hope! The Evil Eudyptulan Empire was defeated tonight! Flyers beat the Pens! (Eudyptula is the scientific classification name of the “Little Fairy Penguin” which translates to “Good little Diver”!)

  • Diana

    Dear Lord I hope the Caps win tomorrow night if only so that I don’t get the crap scared out of me every time I open this site…

  • Anon

    Is it possible to scrub out the non-scoring-chance goals from the denominator, thus yielding a true conversion rate on scoring chances?

    I’d like to see a side by side comparison on the scrubbed data with the data you just posted, in order to see how “lucky” goals drive results.

  • Neil – RMNB

    @Anon: I must have deleted the part where I explain that the goals-for in the convert rate are ONLY those form “dangerous” scoring chances, which is why the GF total is lower than actual.

    Sorry for confusion.

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