Capitals lost to Chicago in stoppage time… Again: By the numbers

Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean / NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals came back to beat the Chicago Blackhawks even though Conor Sheary beat the heroes at the end of the game to end the game. This was a game defined by a 34-second span in the second half, where the Blackhawks scored three goals in a row. Two of those goals came from the Blackhawks’ power play. Overall, the Blackhawks have scored three of their five goals in the game thanks to a power play on six chances.

Special teams have a pretty big influence on this game. Capitals can score thanks to one of their three power play opportunities, most notably Alex Ovechkin beats Dave Andreychuk in career power-match goals. It will be difficult to win any match where you give up the three power play goals.

Let’s take a look at some of the key metrics for the overall 5v5 performance between the two teams. If you would like to learn more about the analytics terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics glossary. Stats in this post courtesy of Natural statistical tricks.

The enhanced stats from tonight’s tilt (excluding injury time), provide evidence that the Capitals have actually lost this game beyond the overall 5-round tie. In fact, in most cases, if you control 60 +% of the shots, the number of shots, the chances of scoring and the 70 +% of the high chance of danger give and Expected goal for, you will win.

The Capitals dominated the match in a five-on-five match. The breakdown in the second half was mainly due to the large swings in momentum due to a power-match goal scored in the waning seconds of the two-man advantage, another immediate goal in the next power game. followed, and another five-for-five goal.

To add to the five-on-five dominance, Ilya Samsonov was near-perfect in the five-on-five match. He posted a savings percentage of .944. His only goal against in the five-on-five was a high danger chance against, in which he saved three of the four shots.

Let’s take a look at the skaters’ overall performance during the five-on-five match:

Nicklas Backstrom made waves with his first game of the season after recovering from a hip injury. He has strong possession and scoring opportunities, and the harbinger is when Caps has more regular skaters back on the roster.

Most people post pretty solid numbers, with some notable exclusions: Justin Schultz and Trevor van Riemsdyk. TvR is somewhat passable due to the fact that he just came back from the COVID-19 protocol list and is likely rusty. On the other hand, Schultz was really in trouble. His possession is scant, and he is often on the ice for scoring opportunities and high danger opportunities.

TvR, Schultz, Nic Dowd, Carl Hagelin and Beck Malenstyn are the only Caps skaters with an expected score below 50%. They were also on the ice with Alex Debrincat, Dylan Strome and Patrick Kane for most of the time they were on the ice, so that certainly didn’t help.


The Capitals played a full game in the 5v5 inning, but really struggled with discipline and staying out of the box. Caps special teams face their own problems, especially in terms of penalty kicks, and that’s the difference in tonight’s game against the Blackhawks.

The bright side of this is that Caps played a really strong match in a 5v5 match with some pretty substantial players still out of the lineup. With Backstrom finally back on the roster, the Caps are a few steps closer to sliding a healthy roster back in.

By Justin Trudel

About Justin Trudel

Justin is a lifelong Caps fan, with some of his earliest memories of the sport watching the team at USAir Arena and their 1998 Stanley Cup appearance. Now a resident of St. Augustine, FL, Justin watches Caps from afar. Justin holds a BA in Political Science from Towson University and a Master of Science in Applied Information Technology from Towson University. Justin is currently a product manager for a nonprofit in Jacksonville, FL. Justin loves learning about team building and limit management. Capitals lost to Chicago in stoppage time… Again: By the numbers

Subhankar Mondal

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