Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues required the Washington Capitals to withstand a protracted comeback effort in the second and third periods. The effect of protecting a lead meant most Caps players got outpossessed. That’s not really surprising, and it’s totally fine considering how strong the Blues are on the puck and the game’s eventual outcome. A bit more surprising, however, was Troy Brouwer‘s shot-attempt differential that night.
In 10 minutes of 5v5 play, Brouwer was on the ice for 17 Blues shot attempts …and zero by the Capitals.
That’s like 0% possession*.
This is not a big deal. It’s just fascinating. It’s not a condemnation of Brouwer’s game or anything other than a curious piece of trivia.
I asked Darryl Metcalf of Extra Skater, which is the best NHL stat site out there, about the recent history of 0% possession games. He came back at me with this list.
|Player||Game||5v5 TOI||Shots Against|
|Teddy Purcell||2013-03-05 Lightning 5 at Devils 2||13.2||14|
|Brandon Prust||2011-10-07 Rangers 2 at Kings 3 (OT)||12.4||10|
|Brandon Sutter||2013-11-30 Penguins 5 at Panthers 1||12.3||18|
|Keith Ballard||2014-01-18 Stars 2 at Wild 3 (OT)||10.6||16|
|Mathieu Darche||2011-12-21 Canadiens 1 at Blackhawks 5||10.1||13|
|Daniel Alfredsson||2014-02-27 Red Wings 6 at Senators 1||10.0||14|
|Troy Brouwer||2014-04-08 Capitals 4 at Blues 1||10.0||17|
|Daniel Winnik||2012-02-11 Avalanche 2 at Blues 3 (OT)||10.0||11|
|Gilbert Brule||2012-02-18 Stars 1 at Coyotes 2 (OT)||9.9||12|
|Jamal Mayers||2011-11-18 Blackhawks 2 at Flames 5||9.9||12|
Ranking by five-on-five time on ice, Brouwer’s 0% possession game is 6th.
Of those ten guys, only two lost the game in regulation: Mathieu “Stan” Darche on Montreal and Jamal Mayers for Chicago. Everyone else won or at least made it past #rego.
Check out Daniel Alfredsson, who got zilch offense against his old team back in February– a game that was pretty tight until near the end of the second period. That must’ve been embarrassing.
And then there’s Teddy Purcell, a sturdy winger for the Bolts, who somehow got nothing going in the offensive zone for 13+ minutes of 5v5 action against the stifling Devils. We’ve all been there, right dudes?
Brouwer actually saw more opponent shot attempts per minute than anyone else on that list. It was kind of a stinker on his part. For example, this weak clearing attempt:
Plus the whole getting-crushed-behind-the-net-and-then-running-to-Marcus Johansson thing.
Reality check: one players’s shot-attempt differential in one game means, like, nothing. The Caps won the game and Brouwer contributed– he drew a penalty on a breakaway in the second period to neutralize a four-minute power play.
One final note: three of those players– Darche, Brule, and Mayers– are no longer in the league.
Big ups to your boy Darryl Metcalf of Extra Skater.
* I’m using shot attempts, including blocks, as a proxy for puck possession.