Last night the Caps lost to the Sharks by a score of 4-2 in a game that may have ended at 4am. Where’s my coffee? The best Caps-related highlights might be Barry Trotz narrowly avoiding a puck to the head, and Kevin Shattenkirk potting another point on a nice game-tying assist to Brett Connolly.
Five-on-five shot attempts were very even during this game, coming out 35 to 33 in favor of the Sharks, and 53 to 52 in favor of the Caps in all situations. The Caps allowed two powerplay goals against for the sixth time this season.
— Japers’ Rink (@JapersRink) March 9, 2017
Every time Jakub Vrana has a quiet and effective game, we could easily give this award to him (he had such a game again last night, which bodes well for playoff depth). Kevin Shattenkirk could also easily get it, but his assist and many standout plays mean it wouldn’t be very “unsung.” Shattenkirk continues to look like a brilliant acquisition. Marcus Johansson will get the unsung hero award for this game. He looked steady all night and was on the ice for nine Caps shots at five-on-five to just two against, and he wasn’t on for any of the goals-against.
Earlier this season, the Caps’ third line of Andre Burakovsky, Lars Eller, and Brett Connolly was one of the most dominant possession lines in the league. They also backed up the process with monstrously good results, sporting an 88 percent goals-for percent at five-on-five (score adjusted). Well, that trio hasn’t played together since Burakovsky broke his hand blocking a shot, and the Caps no longer have any top-tier weapon. That isn’t to say they don’t have several very good weapons, just that they’ve lost their claim of “best third line in hockey” (or rather “best line in hockey”). Here are the Caps’ top four lines in terms of ice time and where each ranks in the league in possession (at five-on-five and score adjusted, out of 87 lines with at least 160 minutes). Also noteworthy is how evenly distributed the ice time is among lines. The Boston Bruins, for example, have a 300-minute gap between their most played line and their second most played line. For the Caps that gap is 21 minutes.
|Line||TOI||League Rank||Shot attempt %||Goals-for %|
Stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey and NaturalStatTrick.
Headline photo by Don Smith/NHLI.
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