Wednesday night, the Caps beat the Rangers 2-0 in their 12th shutout of the year, and Braden Holtby’s ninth. More importantly, it’s time for the playoffs. By gaining at least one point last night, the Caps clinched the Presidents’ Trophy and the Metro Division title for the second year in a row. They have only to wait and see who their opponent will be. Tonight there will be many relevant games to that end, and thankfully none of them will involve Pittsburgh.
Last night’s game was fairly evenly played, with the Caps getting outshot at five-on-five 18 attempts to 15 in the first period but then outshooting the Rangers 30 to 20 over the final two frames. Scoring chances were also even at 21 to 20.
Braden Holtby made some subtly nice saves, but given that he got the shutout he wouldn’t be very unsung. Marcus Johansson was on the board with a glorious assist, but he’s still going to get this award for last night. Mojo has been humming right along, and last night he saw 14 shot attempts for to just eight against while starting in the defensive zone for five of eight zone starts. We’ve made a lot of the first and third lines this year, but the second line will be hyper-important come playoffs and it is absolutely crucial that they keep connecting for kind of goals that they scored last night.
The perfect blend. This year’s Caps team has the second best score-adjusted goals-for percentage of any team since 2007-2008. They sit at 61.4 percent, next to the 2013-2014 Boston Bruins’ 61.6 percent and just ahead of the 2009-2010 Caps’ 61.1 percent. This is the culmination of a lot of factors coming together and is the mark of a team that truly has no obvious weakness.
In the end, this Caps team had the ninth best shooting percentage during that 10-year era, the eighth-best save percentage, the 10th-best rate of goal scoring, and the seventh-best rate of goals-against (all at five-on-five, and out of 300 team seasons). They sit at 47th in possession among that group, or the 84th percentile. Below is a table showing some key stats for the top-five goals-for percent teams of the last decade.
There is a strong case to be made that this is the best Caps roster ever assembled.
Stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey and NaturalStatTrick.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI.
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