Defensive Dip: Analyzing The Capitals Defensemen’s Efficiency Over The Previous 5 Video games

Picture by Andy Marlin/NHLI by way of Getty Photos

Previous to yesterday’s 2-1 additional time win in opposition to the New Jersey Devils, the Capitals have been struggling defensively, giving up 17 targets in opposition to over three video games, a regarding 5.66 targets in opposition to per recreation common.

That’s not precisely profitable hockey and resulted within the Capitals going 1-2-0 in that stretch. That single win in opposition to the New York Rangers was almost squandered within the third interval, the place the Capitals allowed 4 third interval targets.

The Capitals have been giving up uncharacteristically dangerous possibilities in opposition to in these video games, particularly within the second recreation in opposition to the Rangers final week. The Capitals certainly responded nicely in opposition to the Devils Friday evening after an 8-4 shellacking by the New York Islanders on Thursday. That is one thing to regulate because the common season winds down and the postseason approaches.

On this piece, we’ll check out the efficiency of the Capitals’ six common defensemen: John Carlson, Brenden Dillon, Dmitry Orlov, Justin Schultz, Zdeno Chara, and Nick Jensen.


First up, let’s check out how the defensemen have fared within the final 5 video games throughout 5 on 5 play, and take a look at their targets for share versus their anticipated targets for share. This helps us take a look at the info behind the general play, corresponding to if the Capitals are suppressing possibilities in opposition to, leading to decrease anticipated targets in opposition to.

The regarding half concerning the above graphic is that not a single Capitals defenseman is posting a 50% or above anticipated targets for share over the previous 5 video games. Why is that this regarding? Which means that the Capitals are usually not controlling the tempo of play, and their opponents are getting extra high quality scoring possibilities in opposition to the Capitals than vice versa.

The attention-grabbing piece right here is that the Capitals have three defensemen at or above the 50% mark for precise targets for share, which is promising. That being mentioned, the Caps are additionally on the prime of the league in targets scored throughout 5 on 5 play (93 targets), so there’s positively some padding there.

The dip within the Capitals defensemen’s play is much more obvious if you examine it to their efficiency in the identical metrics previous to the final 5 video games:

That is the place it actually will get attention-grabbing. 5 of the six common Capitals defensemen have posted above 50% of their anticipated targets for share determine, and Dillon isn’t trailing too far behind there both.

All six Capitals defensemen have extraordinarily sturdy precise targets for percentages within the time span previous to the final 5 video games. Like talked about above, these are possible a bit padded as a result of the Capitals have the very best 5 on 5 purpose scoring numbers within the league.


Now, let’s check out the defensemen’s efficiency in producing and suppressing excessive hazard possibilities over the previous 5 video games:

These marks aren’t good. The Capitals are struggling in suppressing excessive hazard possibilities in opposition to, which pushes their excessive hazard possibilities for share down beneath the 50% mark.

On prime of that, the Capitals are getting routinely outscored in excessive hazard targets. These targets are notably obvious within the video games in opposition to the Rangers over the previous week, corresponding to Artemi Panarin’s breakaway purpose that actually iced the sport for the Rangers.

Let’s check out how the Capitals’ excessive hazard efficiency has stacked up in opposition to their season totals previous to the final 5:

The video games main as much as the final 5 video games are indicated as pHDCF% and pHDGF% above.

Each single common defenseman has been vastly underperforming their season charges at HDGF%. The scariest drop off is Zdeno Chara’s, going from a 65.22 HDGF% to a 25 HDGF%.

In the end, the primary takeaway right here is: sure the final 5 video games haven’t been the very best defensively. It’s additionally a significantly smaller pattern measurement than exterior the previous 5 video games. The regarding piece could be if the more moderen play turns into extra of a development than an outlier.

By Justin Trudel

About Justin Trudel

Justin is a lifelong Caps fan, with a few of his first reminiscences of the game watching the staff within the USAir Area and the 1998 Stanley Cup look. Now a resident of St. Augustine, FL, Justin watches the Caps from afar. Justin graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science from Towson College, and a Grasp’s of Science in Utilized Data Expertise from Towson College. Justin is at the moment a product supervisor at a non-profit in Jacksonville, FL. Justin enjoys geeking out over roster development and cap administration.

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