Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS
Posted at 2:48 PM ET, 12/11/2010

Statistical analysis: Don't panic just yet

By Neil Greenberg
Statistical analysis

The Caps are mired in a four-game losing streak, one of their top blueliners is out four to six weeks and the flu is going around the locker room - but it is still no time for panic.

All NHL teams face adversity. Last year's Chicago Blackhawks had three three-game losing streaks. The Pittsburgh Penguins had a five-game slump and three more three-game skids in the year Crosby and Co. got to hang out with Lord Stanley. The Detroit Red Wings had a February to forget, losing 10 of 11 after an eight-game win streak during their championship season. The Anaheim Ducks dropped eight of 11 before the All-Star break, and the Carolina Hurricanes had two three-game losing streaks during their road to glory.

Even the Caps' win totals through the first five games of December are not too far off, having won 18 games while the past five Cup winners have won 18, 23, 22, 15 and 19 through the same time frame.

So what's the problem? The pucks just aren't bouncing the Caps' way. The scoring chances are there -- a scoring chance being a shot taken from a "dangerous" location (roughly equal to a pie-shaped wedge from the goalie to the top of the circles and inside the dots) -- but they just aren't turning into goals lately.

GamesSCFSCAGFGASCF per gameSCA per gameConvert for %Convert against %
4-game skid4795961219.814.87.6%20.3%
Rest of season25 423390806516.915.618.9%16.7%
Stats from 10/27 vs CAR not included due to errors.
Note: Not all goals are considered scoring chances, such as empty netters and penalty shots, which is why the goals for and against are lower than the Caps' totals for the season.

In the four losses, the Caps have generated more chances (SCF) per game than they have on average the rest of the season, but they're converting significantly less during the losing streak.

Opponents, on the other hand, are generating fewer chances (SCA) per game but are converting at a higher rate. This "finishing ability" evens out over the course of a season, so we should see the Caps we know and love on the ice sooner rather than later - without making a trade or firing the coach. After all, shinny happens, and when it happens in December it is no time for panic.

Neil Greenberg also writes for Russian Machine Never Breaks. You can follow him on Twitter here.

By Neil Greenberg  | December 11, 2010; 2:48 PM ET
Categories:  Statistical analysis  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Familiar faces on both sides of Caps-Avalanche meeting
Next: Big Chill at the Big House sets hockey attendance record


"After all, shinny happens, and when it happens in December it is no time for panic"

we're not seeing panic - we're seeing a revolt

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 11, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what "panic" means on here... do I panic because I think they will miss the playoffs because of this particular losing streak? No, I don't.

I don't think that's the reason some of us "panic". I panic because I haven't see any indication that this is a team that can go farther in the playoffs and win the Cup.

Again this is a group of players that have NOT proven anything in April, May and June. Nor have they proven that they can win tight, playoff-type close games CONSISTENTLY. They've done it one or two games here and there but have yet to do it for a two or three week stretch.

Till they do, there is plenty of reasons to panic no matter what Greenberg or anyone else says on here.

Posted by: joek443 | December 11, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Show me a team that never strings 2 losses together in a row and I am buying in....its consecutive losses that kill in the playoffs - so make mistakes, correct things and learn before the next game.

I watch alot of NFL - and usually teams in division games where they see the same teams twice watch enough video and gameplan to correct things. While in the NHL a different opponent every night they still watch and try to stop what they see.

So far too much predictability here with the Caps each game...give the opponents not only a reason to fear but something they cant prepare for.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | December 11, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

food for thought:

The recent edition of The Hockey News just arrived , and, LOW AND BEHOLD: FIGHTING IS SIGNIFICANTLY UP THIS YEAR. I think I posted something about cycles and trends, and how the Pens seemed to be leading the way. We're slipping farther behind the front-running contenders (and I don't mean just pt-wise in the standings) so what do we do? HAVE A SEAT DJK, AND HURRY BACK ****55! Time to panic? Nah, the statistics prove every team goes through peaks and valleys....RIGHT

The good news? JOHNNY E'S BOUT W/BOULTON was the featured-picture speaking to the people here really think he's not known around the league, and teams would love to have #4 on their squad?

The watch is still on, and I'm keeping score until ****55's return and the SUBSEQUENT BANISHMENT OF #4, which will unquestionably happen so long as BB is still the coach. BB MUST GO!!

go caps, kick Av's a@@

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 11, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay boys,

Time for "ascension to the mean" to take place. (I'm substituting the term "ascension" for "regression" since the latter means a downgrade in performance rather than an upgrade.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

hey vermont,

fighting is as irrelevent as a two-dollar bill once the real season begins in April... I'm not sure what you get outta watching hockey or following this team.

would you rather see them win every fight or watch them skate around holding the Cup in June?

Posted by: joek443 | December 11, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse


let's talk after we play the Pens

go caps, kick Av's a@@

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 11, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

ohhh JOEK443..we can always count on you for a little optimism.


Posted by: Bondra2Ovie | December 11, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

why should we care about fighting? personally i think it is a waste of roster space to put dj king instead of someone like marcus johanson. a fighter guy is nice when youre low on 3rd/4th line talent, but imo we have so many guys who can score, a goal is a much bigger momentum bringer than a 50% chance of winning a fight

Posted by: royhperkins | December 12, 2010 3:47 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company