Photo: Mitchell Layton
With eight games left to play, the Capitals are two points out of a wild card spot. Columbus (reminder: apparently now they’re good a team) and Detroit have 82 points to Washington’s 80. In the final two weeks of the regular season, the Caps must close the gap.
They’re not going to do it playing like they have been. According to Sports Club Stats, the Caps have a one-in-four chance of making the playoffs right now. That’s a fun coincidence, because they also have just one forward line out of four that doesn’t look like hot garbage.
In this week’s snapshot, we take another look at the Caps’ chances of making the playoffs and suggest one painfully obvious way to improve them. (Hint: it’s in the headline.)
These are the numbers as of noon on a rainy Sunday, March 30th. The sample is just 5-on-5 play while the score is close. That means within one goal in the first two periods and tied in the third. That way special teams, blowouts, and comebacks don’t color the data. Stats of note are highlighted in powderpuff pink and discussed below.
See previous snapshots: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5, week 6, week 7, week 8, week 9, week 10, week 11, week 12, week 13, week 14, week 15, week 16, week 17, week 18, week 19, week 20, week 21, week 22, week 23
Alright, onto the stretch run. Here are the remaining eight games for the Jackets and Wings– with each team’s shot-attempt differential during close games. First, Blue Jackets (50.84%):
And here they are for the Red Wings (51.46%):
Now, on a game-by-game basis, a team’s possession score isn’t a strong predictor. This could still go a million different ways. There are some gimme games in here– two against Buffalo for Detroit for example– but it’s going come down to who gets hot in the final weeks. And who gets hot is largely an accident of probability.
That said– if a certain coach is looking to help the hotness along, maybe it’s time for Nicky and Alex to play together.
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