Kanoobs pots a rebound goal after crashing the net against Columbus. (Photo credit: Luis M. Alvarez)
Eight of the last nine Capitals goals have come from sixteen feet or nearer. It’s no secret that the closer you are to the net, the better the chance you have to score a goal. The Caps are “crashing the net,” but they are not getting as lucky as they were last year.
Shots within 15 feet of the net
If we dig a little deeper we can see who is taking the shots near the net and who is capitalizing on them. This is just those shots taken within about 15 feet of the net over the last two years.
With the exception of the two Alexes, the entire team seems to be converting less than they did just a year ago.
Mike Knuble‘s early season slump appears to have been caused by just some bad luck. His shooting percentage (Sh%) is almost half of what it was last year at the same distance on more shots. Historically we have seen these type of shots convert at a 20-40% rate, depending on if it is during even strength or on with the man advantage.
Brooks Laich seems to be affected the most this season: his Sh% has dropped to a third of what it was last season. Any sort of progression towards the mean and we are looking at another 3-6 goals from Laich. Nicklas Backstrom is suffering from the same malady, certainly affecting his goal total as well.
This luck may be beginning to change. Take a look at the where the goals have come from these last two overtime wins:
If the team’s shooting percentage continues to rebound, the Caps could very well see some flashes of last year’s scoring in the playoffs.