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.
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.
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.