Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images
With five games in the books, I survived my first week of logging scoring chances, including DVRing the game Saturday night and catching up Sunday. If you haven’t read it already, my first post explains what I consider a scoring chance. As always, you can see this spreadsheet on Google Docs where I update them every week.
The Caps are getting their money’s worth for Jeff Schultz, who hasn’t had a goal against yet – and that includes leading the Caps in PK minutes with only allwoing a paltry three scoring chances against a man down. When he signed the contract extension this summer, I wrote Schultz could be “one of the NHL’s best bargains two to four years from now. If not sooner.” So far, so good.
On the flipside we have John Erskine, who is the only Capital with a negative scoring chance differential in double digits. Put another way, the Caps give the opposition 2.5 more scoring chances for every 15 minutes Erskine is on the ice. Some of this can be explained because he is being used mostly in the defensive zone as Coach Bodreau’s shutdown blueliner. When John Carlson, the other half of this new shutdown pair is only a minus 2, what explains the rest of it?
Have any of you ever wanted to watch some of your favorite NHL players sweat it out on camera? Well if you have, then this “This or That” segment produced by Caps365 is for you. Almost the entire Caps roster is asked a simple question: Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson? However, for some, this becomes a question of: Does dominance on the playing field trump who you are as a person?
The responses are hilarious. A few of the guys respond in complete defiance (Varly), some blush (Alzner) and some respond in uncomfortable laughter (Laich).
So who would you choose: Tiger or Phil? Whose answer did you like the best? And what is John Erskine so happy about?
Readers of the blog know I put a lot of stock into numbers to help put context around which players are performing and which aren’t. Corsi is one of my favorites because it is a good proxy for territorial possession in a game. To get a player’s Corsi rating, simply add up all the goals, shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots of that player- both for and against- when he is on the ice. If it is positive, that player helps create scoring chances, and if it is negative – well, the opposite happens. Or, simply go to Behind the Net, and let them do the work for you.
Everyone Needs More Bradley, right? Whether Matt Bradley was scoring game winning goals, working the PK against some tough competition, staying out of penalty trouble or just plain acting like a superhero, the Caps definitely needed more of it.
But do all players benefit from playing more with Brads?
The Washington Capitals have forgotten how to score. Except for Eric Fehr’s half-forgotten memory of a goal in the third period, the high-scoring Caps were completely impotent in their pathetic 4-1 loss to the Canadiens. You can chalk it up to Jaroslav Halak’s herculean 53-save night, the brownian motion of the Caps’ powerplay, or the ire of hockey gods at my shaving– it doesn’t matter. The Caps were found wanting in every metric.
We usually dedicate the segment of the game recap to highlights, but I can recall none tonight. This game was a 60-minute parade of sadness: the white team buzzing about sending ineffectual lobs at the net for King Kong Halak to swat casually. While the hockey tastemakers may spend the night picking players worthy of scorn, we’re going to cast a wide net. The whole of the Capitals roster failed to play up to level of the Habs.
Boo freaking hoo.
Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens needed to respond. After being taken to the woodshed Monday night, it was time for the Habs to show the Eastern Conference’s best team their mettle. Instead, the highest scoring team in the NHL showed Montreal the formula on how they won over 50 games in the Regular Season: Cruise through 40 minutes of play and then turn it on in the third. The result? The Capitals win an error-filled slugfest 6-3 and now look to close out the series Friday at Verizon Center in front of their Racuous Red Rockers. Oh boy!
La saison de golf commence vendredi pour les Canadiens:
Ovechkin hails his Canadiens fans after his second-period goal (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Ryan Remiorz)
Finally, the Washingon Capitals finish a game in sixty minutes. But tonight’s soaring victory over the Montreal Canadiens nearly wasn’t such. Without Boyd Gordon’s brilliant short-handed goal early in the second period, the Caps might not have detonated the goalsplosion that followed.
Relying mostly on that 20 minute score buffet, the Caps easily bested the Nads 5-1. Caps take the series lead 2-1. Natch.
Thursday will mark the fifth time the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals face off this season. The Internets are awash with intelligent analyses and strong opinions, and we were feeling left out. So we got the RMNB team together and pounded a bunch of latte macchiatos with guarana infusions.
All we could come up with is five smart points that will characterize the series and then a handful of jokes. Pity us and read on.
The last game of the season is a curious thing. The playoffs are a sure thing, and the only matters left to question are individual achievements and not getting injured. So then, was today a bust?
The Boston Bruins, filled out by AHL call-ups, bested the Washington Capitals in 65 minutes of hockey and three rounds of a shootout. Whatever. We’re over it. Upward and onward.
In just a few hours, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will face off for the second-t0-last time ever before the playoffs in a few weeks. The stakes are not as high as they have been– both teams are sure things for the post-season, D.C.’s win streak has ended, and NBC’s Pierre McGuire won’t be leaving drool streaks on the glass barrier between him and the Pens bench. Still, any meeting between these two rivals guarantees an exciting game. Except that one time. But unfortunately, both squads have modified their lines to accommodate injured players. And when our hockey heroes cannot play, we must toast their immortal memory in a feature we like to call… Russian Machine Sometimes Breaks!
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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