In the first period of Wednesday night’s victory over the Bruins, it felt like the Caps were back. The pace was good, the passes were crisp, and Evgeny Kuznetsov was doing Evgeny Kuznetsov things. As a result, the Caps were up 2-0 after the first and then took a 3-0 lead in the second period.
And then, it happened. “It” depends on your perspective. “It” is probably a combination of a lot of things, including the Bruins proving why they are a top possession team and the Caps getting complacent. Before going HAM at the Caps for the blown lead, a perspective worth considering:
Random quote from Matt Niskanen: "I've never seen a 60-minute game. … That doesn't exist unless the other team's not on the ice." #Caps
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) December 30, 2014
This isn’t to excuse the Caps. After all, they went what seemed like seven years without a shot and, as a result, almost lost the game. Let’s take a look at the numbers
The Caps lost the 5v5 shot attempt battle 57-40. Adjusting for score, the Bruins still had the better of the shot attempts, 54-42. This margin isn’t surprising considering the Caps were some combination of turtling and/or incompetent for the last 35 minutes of the game.
Here’s some more numbers, 5v5 unless noted otherwise:
The Caps have won two in a row but neither game has done much to alleviate the concerns surrounding this club. The Bruins are a good hockey club, as they led the NHL in shot attempt percentage coming into the game and only improved upon that on Wednesday night, so they deserve some credit for how the second half of the game played out. If you had told me before the game that the Caps would play much of the game without Matt Niskanen but would still manage a 4-3 win, I’d have taken it. That being said, there’s plenty about the process that is concerning.
Stats via Corsica and Natural Stat Trick
Headline photo: Rob Carr
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