On Saturday night the Capitals suffered their first regulation loss of the season, by a score of 4-2 to the New York Rangers. Two of those goals came from touted prospect and Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey. While overall it’s hard to complain about the start to the season, some negative trends have begun to emerge.
This was the second consecutive game in which the Caps coughed up a two-goal lead (and then some). And special teams are struggling, with the penalty kill only 71.4 percent effective (4th worst in the league) and the 12.5 percent power play not getting properly set up in the zone.
That said, there are still many positives. Saturday was the third game in a row to feature an Alex Ovechkin goal, this one being the most sublime and crafty of the three. The third line also chipped in for the second consecutive game, with Lars Eller finding the back of the net for the first time as a Capital, on a beautiful tip-in early in the first.
And in the end, despite a poor second period the Caps did win the 5v5 possession battle, by a tally of 43-41.
See the 5v5 possession chart here.
On the flip side, the Capitals allowed many more “high danger” shot attempts than the Rangers did. Using hockeystats.ca shot location charts, the Caps took only seven shot attempts at 5v5 from between the two hash marks or below, while the Rangers took 14. Vesey’s second goal, and many Rick Nash chances, were taken from this high-danger area – allowing chances from there would be a bad habit to start.
Let’s take a look at some other numbers, and focus on some positives (from corsica.hockey):
That was a frustrating loss last night, but the Capitals are still looking strong leading into their annual Western Canada road trip.
Headline Photo: Patrick McDermott
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