Washington Capitals fans are getting their money worth

As the Washington Capitals entered overtime against the Carolina Hurricanes in last night’s shoot-out loss, it would be the 6th time of their last 9 that would be decided outside of the regulation 60 minutes. During the course of the 2009-10 season, the Caps have played 21 games where a winner needed to be determined by sudden death overtime or shootout – 55 of extra hockey in the OT’s alone.

We’ve already discussed the effect all this extra time on ice might have on D-man Mike Green, but what does it mean for the welfare of the Caps as a whole?


Math stuff to exercise your brain-parts after the jump

The Capitals currently stand at 10-11 (47.6 %) on the season in 21 extra time games, being more successful at home (60.0 %) than on the road (36.4 %). Separating overtime from shoot out, Washington is 5-6 in the OT (45.4 %) and even in the shootout 5-5 (50.0 %). 21 games being decided in extra-innings ties the 2005-06 squad’s number for the most since the shoot-out was adopted post-lockout, however the 09-10 Caps have outperformed all but one squad:

Season Record Win %
2008-09 10-8 35.7
2007-08 11-8 57.8
2006-07 5-14 26.3
2005-06 9-12 42.9

While 11 losses outside of regulation puts the Capitals in a tie for 8th in the league, looking at their numbers a bit deeper reveals more interesting notes:

Record Total Home Road L1P L2P T1P T2P Sc F Tr F
2009-10 Capitals 10-11 21 6-4 4-7 5 4 1 4 6 5

L1P = Overtime losses after leading 1 period
L2P = Overtime losses after leading 2 periods
T1P = Overtime losses after trailing 1 period
T2P = Overtime losses after trailing 2 periods
Sc F= Overtime losses when scoring first
Tr F= Overtime losses when trailing first

DC sits atop the rankings in three categories: extra time losses after leading 1 period (T-1), extra time losses on the road (T-2), and extra time losses when scoring first (T-3). The latter is even more interesting considering the Capitals have scored first in 48 of 76 contests this year (63 %).

So why aren’t the Capitals able to close the deal in overtime? DC has allowed more 4-on-4 goals than any other team in the league (13), while being tied for 18th in goals scored (only 5). My feelings are that when the ice is more open, the Capitals aren’t receiving the screens necessary to set up a blast from Alex Ovechkin or Alex Semin. While I wasn’t able to find a metric on how many of Washington’s goals were scored within 5 feet of the crease, Mike Knuble‘s 26 goals and Brooks Laich‘s 24 are an indication on how well second chance goals have benefited this team.

And what’s that mean for the Capitals Stanley Cup chances? Unfortunately, the only note we’re able to discern when looking at past teams that hoisted Lord Stanley’s mug is that it appears that teams from the Eastern Conference won with winning overtime records, while with the Western Conference is was reversed:

Season Team Record Total Home Road L1P L2P T1P T2P Sc F Tr F
2008-09 Penguins 11-5 16 4-3 7-2 3 1 1 2 4 1
2007-08 Red Wings 9-10 19 5-5 4-5 6 6 3 0 5 5
2006-07 Ducks 9-14 24 3-9 6-5 5 5 3 5 9 5
2005-06 Hurricanes 12-8 20 7-2 5-6 2 2 3 5 2 6

With 8 games left on the roster, it will be interesting to see how the Capitals keep the momentum heading into the post-season and if their extra time spent on the ice will have any lingering effects on their summer success.

So I leave it to you, the reader – why do you feel the Capitals are batting sub .500 when games are decided out of regulation?