Marcus Johansson has been one of the Washington Capitals’ most improved players this season. One of the main reasons Johansson has set a career high in goals is that he is shooting the puck more than he ever has in his career. I talked about this back in December. Here’s a quick recap:
In terms of shots per game this season, Johannson is averaging 2.04 shots. If he were to maintain this over an 82 game season, he would have 167 shots on goal, shattering his previous career high of 107 he set last season. If, Johansson were to pump 167 shots on net in a season and shoot at his career average of 12.8 percent, he would score 21 goals, which crushes his career high of 14 set in 2011-12.
However, Johansson’s play hasn’t appeared as strong lately. Including his empty net goal against Columbus, Johansson has just three goals over his previous 21 games. Something is up.
By dividing Johansson’s season into four (unequal) segments, there are some ebbs and flows in the underlying numbers that might tell part of the story. The four segments are:
In Segment One, Johansson posted solid possession numbers. All of the sudden in Segment Two, his possession fell off a cliff. He was a possession stud in Segment Three. In Segment Four, Johansson’s possession numbers, while respectable, drop off sharply from Segment 3, and still aren’t back to the level of Segment 1.
The Caps were seeing a lot of scoring chances during Segment One when Johansson was on the ice. Segment Two was again awful, while the scoring chance percentage has been pretty stable during Segments Three and Four.
Remember above when I said that one of the main factors in Johansson’s improved production this season is because he’s shooting the puck more? While all of these segments are above his career shot attempt rate, Johansson directed shots at the net way more in Segments One and Three than in Segments Two and Four.
To recap, Segments One and Three were really good. Segment Two was awful. Segment Four was pretty good, but Johansson’s shot attempt rate was noticeably lower.
During Segments One and Three, Andre Burakovsky was centering Johansson.
This isn’t to say that Johansson was successful during Segments One and Three only because he was playing with Burakovsky. And sample sizes should be minded as well. But there’s plenty of evidence that shows Johansson has played his best hockey this season when playing with Burakovsky. Here’s their possession numbers when together and when playing apart.
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