The Caps have lost two games in a row. Sometimes coaches like to make lineup changes after a loss or two. If Todd Reirden is considering any lineup changes for Thursday’s game against the Coyotes, those changes should not include taking out fourth line center Nic Dowd.
Dowd has seven points in 23 games, just the second time he’s totaled more than three points in a season. While this level of production may not continue, Dowd’s overall play has been significantly better than Travis Boyd, his competition for fourth line center.
Here’s a 5-on-5 comparison of Dowd and Boyd this season:
|Player||GP||TOI/G||SA%||Scoring Chance%||Goals For %|
The only place where this is even close is in goals-for percentage, obviously the most important stat in the end. But, Boyd’s 106.3 PDO is propping him up, not some ability to sustain favorable goals-for percentage even when being outshot.
It should be noted that one reason for the difference in shot and scoring chance numbers could be the amount of time Dowd has skated with Dmitrij Jaskin. Jaskin has boosted a lot of linemates’ possession numbers this season, and Dowd has skated 133 minutes with Jaskin, while Boyd has skated just six.
One way to attempt to control for the Jaskin effect is to look at how each center has performed when skating with Devante Smith-Pelly but without Jaskin. Again, Dowd looks to have the upper hand:
|Dowd w/DSP and w/out Jaskin||41:22||50.8|
|Boyd w/DSP and w/out Jaskin||70:10||40.2|
Perhaps Boyd could benefit from some time with Jaskin to see if he can really cut it when playing with the best of what the Caps fourth line has to offer. But for now, he shouldn’t get the chance. Ten penalty minutes aside, Nic Dowd has played too well to consider removing him from the fourth line center spot.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/Elizabeth Kong
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