Can’t Lose

It’s a red letter day.

The three days since the Capitals 7-0 loss to the Rangers have been the most tumultuous the franchise has seen since the playoffs. In the interim we’ve talked about getting a new goalie, not getting a new goalie, dumping Bruce Boudreau, not dumping Bruce Boudreau, the curse of HBO, statistics so grim they seem actuarial, the colloquial and literal meanings of “going dark”, and the faintest glimmer of hope.

Tonight is the most important night of the Capitals’ season so far. Facing off against the Ducks at 7 PM, the Caps finally have a chance to end their six-game losing streak. At 10 PM, HBO will air the first episode of 24/7, reportedly including the team’s nadir in the form of Bruce Boudreau’s profanity-laden timeout speech at MSG. By this time tomorrow, we should have answers to all our questions:

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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.

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Rangers beat Caps 7-0: Initiate Panic Protocol

I’ll meet you at the bottom if there really is one / They always told me, “when you hit it, you’ll know it” / But I’ve been falling so long, it’s like gravity is gone, and I’m just floating
– Drive-by Truckers

RECAP: Six losses in a row. The season’s fourth shutout. Bad defense, worse offense. Seven goals against. Ovechkin fought. Caps and Rangers tied at 19 scoring chances. Hannan minus-7 SC differential. Hendricks minus-5.[END RECAP.]

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