On Saturday night the Caps beat the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 6-4, making it their record 11th home game in a row scoring at least five goals. This team has completely forgotten what a low-scoring game is. The match also featured a dramatic go-ahead goal late in the third by Zach Sanford, for his first NHL tally, as well as milestone points by TJ Oshie and Nick Backstrom.
The Caps had a few defensive breakdowns as the game wore on, but they put consistent pressure on the Ducks. They tallied 38 shots on goal (to just 22 against), and their five-on-five shot differentials for the three periods were plus-seven, plus-two, and plus-eight. The bye week starts now, and the Caps get some much-deserved rest.
Marcus Johansson gets it. He wasn’t on the ice for any of the Ducks’ goals, and he saw 11 five-on-five shot attempts for and only two against, neither of which were on goal. He also saw six scoring chances for and only one against, and he put the icing on the cake with the empty netter to seal the victory. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams also had stellar nights.
In terms of the underlying shot attempt numbers, the Caps have been far more consistent this season than last. As good as the 2016 President’s Trophy winning Caps were, they had some very long periods of relatively lackluster play in terms of possession. And while possession isn’t the only thing that matters, it is one of the strongest indicators of playoff success. This year, the Caps have played a far more consistent brand of hockey, never soaring or sinking from their 53 percent in score-adjusted five-on-five shot attempts. This chart (courtesy of Corsica) shows the highs and lows of last season and the steady hand of this one.
Stats courtesy of NaturalStatTrick and Corsica.Hockey.
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