LaichMoore

Faceoff Comparison: Lightning vs. Capitals

Puck possession is a huge factor in the Stanley Cup playoffs.  The team that has the puck more often is more likely to score and is less likely to be scored upon.  With that in mind, here is a breakdown of the five Tampa Bay Lightning centers the Capitals faced most often in the regular season, the top-5 Capitals centermen, and how they fared against each other. 

The top four Capitals centermen against the Lightning this season were Nicklas Backstrom, Boyd Gordon, Marcus Johansson, and Brooks LaichJason Arnott played four games against the Lightning, three while he was in New Jersey, and he will be included in this analysis. 

The top five Lightning centers the Capitals should expect to face in the playoffs are Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Dominic Moore, Nate Thompson, and Adam Hall.  As a team, the Lightning were average in the faceoff circle in the regular season (50.4%) and they performed the same in the first round.  The Capitals were better as a team in the regular season (51.7%) and in the playoffs (50.8%). 

The head-to-head matchup between the two teams this season was distinctly in Washington’s favor, as they never lost the faceoff battle in six games, winning 212 of 382 draws (55.5%).  The Caps don’t have Dave Steckel any more, which could make a big difference, but neither of the Lightning’s top-2 centers are very strong at the dot, anyway.  The Capitals should have a good territorial advantage in the faceoff circle in this series.

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Laich faces off with Moore

The Capitals’ and Lightning top five faceoff men are listed below along with their faceoff totals from the regular season and first round combined:

Capitals Won Total Win% vs. Lightning Won Total Win%
Nicklas Backstrom 732 1403 52.2% Vincent Lecavalier 664 1302 51.0%
Jason Arnott 483 975 49.5% Steven Stamkos 474 1011 46.9%
Boyd Gordon 464 787 59.0% Dominic Moore 520 985 52.8%
Marcus Johansson 291 717 40.6% Nate Thompson 388 726 53.4%
Brooks Laich 307 593 51.8% Adam Hall 393 712 55.2%

Nicklas Backstrom (6’1, 210) is the Caps’ best faceoff man against the Lightning this season. The only center he didn’t fare too well against was Nate Thompson.  Here are his head-to-head numbers.

Backstrom Total vs Moore Lecavalier Stamkos Thompson Hall
Game Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win%
11/11 @DC 12 18 67% 2 4 50% 1 1 100% 2 4 50% 1 2 50% 1 2 50%
11/26 @DC 11 22 50% 3 6 50% 1 2 50% 1 4 25% 5 6 83%
1/04 @DC 6 12 50% 0 2 0% 2 2 100% 2 5 40% 2 3 67%
1/12 @TB 7 13 54% 1 1 100% 1 3 33% 4 8 50%
2/04 @TB 13 25 52% 4 5 80% 2 4 50% 2 6 33% 4 8 50%
3/07 @TB 7 7 100% 1 1 100% 1 1 100% 3 3 100% 2 2 100%
Totals 56 97 58% 10 18 56% 7 9 78% 3 6 50% 10 23 43% 18 29 62%

Right-handed Boyd Gordon (6’1, 200) did not have his usual great numbers against the Lightning in his 5 appearances.  It appears Vincent Lecavalier has him figured out.

Gordon Total vs Moore Lecavalier Stamkos Thompson Hall
Game Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win%
11/11 @DC 1 2 50% 0 1 0% 1 1 100%
11/26 @DC 5 10 50% 1 2 50% 1 2 50%
1/12 @TB 3 5 60% 1 3 33% 1 1 100%
2/04 @TB 3 7 43% 0 1 0% 2 3 67%
3/07 @TB 9 19 47% 4 7 57% 1 5 20% 0 1 0% 0 1 0% 1 2 50%
Totals 21 43 49% 5 10 50% 2 9 22% 4 7 57% 0 1 0% 2 3 67%

Rookie Marcus Johansson (5’11, 189) fared better against the Lightning than his average, but he seems to have problems with Dominic Moore.

Johansson Total vs Moore Lecavalier Stamkos Thompson Hall
Game Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win%
11/26 @DC 5 12 42% 0 3 0% 3 4 75% 1 1 100%
1/04 @DC 4 8 50% 2 3 67% 2 4 50% 0 1 0%
1/12 @TB 1 8 13% 1 4 25% 0 2 0% 0 1 0%
2/04 @TB 7 8 88% 2 2 100% 4 4 100% 1 2 50%
3/07 @TB 7 16 44% 1 6 17% 4 5 80% 1 2 50% 0 1 0%
Totals 24 52 46% 5 14 36% 11 17 65% 5 10 50% 0 1 0% 1 3 33%

Brooks Laich (6’2, 200) put up unimpressive numbers this season against Tampa. 

Laich Total vs Moore Lecavalier Stamkos Thompson Hall
Game Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win%
11/11 @DC 4 5 80% 0 1 0% 1 1 100% 1 1 100%
11/26 @DC 1 1 100% 1 1 100%
1/04 @DC 3 6 50% 1 2 50% 2 2 100% 0 1 05 0 1 0%
1/12 @TB 6 14 43% 1 2 50% 2 2 100% 2 2 100% 0 2 0% 0 2 0%
2/04 @TB 1 3 33% 1 3 33%
3/07 @TB 2 7 29% 0 1 0% 1 4 25% 1 2 50%
Totals 17 36 47% 3 7 43% 6 11 55% 3 4 75% 1 3 33% 1 5 20%

Right-handed Jason Arnott (6’5, 220) was hit and miss against the Lightning centers this season. 

Arnott Total vs Moore Lecavalier Stamkos Thompson Hall
Game Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win% Win Total Win%
1/09 @NJ 4 8 50% 0 1 0% 1 2 50% 2 2 100% 0 1 0%
1/14 @TB 5 11 45% 1 3 33% 2 3 67% 1 3 33% 1 1 100% 0 1 0%
2/25 @TB 8 20 40% 2 5 40% 3 4 75% 1 9 11% 1 1 100% 1 4 25%
3/07 @TB 12 19 63% 1 1 100% 3 5 60% 0 1 0% 5 6 83% 3 6 50%
Totals 29 58 50% 4 10 40% 9 14 64% 4 15 27% 7 9 78% 4 11 36%

Here are the Lightning centers and how they fared against the Capitals this season.

Vincent Lecavalier (6’4, 208) is a tall, experienced centerman, but was horrible against the Caps this season in 5 games.

NHL.com Game Won Total Win%
11/11 @DC 1 4 25%
1/04 @DC 4 18 22%
1/12 @TB 7 16 44%
2/04 @TB 7 22 32%
3/07 @TB 12 23 52%
Totals 31 83 37%

Right-handed Steven Stamkos (6’1, 188) is a young, lanky center who did not fare well against the Caps this year, either.

NHL.com Game Won Total Win%
11/11 @DC 10 20 50%
11/26 @DC 3 11 27%
1/04 @DC 6 11 55%
1/12 @TB 4 10 40%
2/04 @TB 2 7 29%
3/07 @TB 3 4 75%
Totals 28 63 44%

  Dominic Moore (6’0, 192) is a slight centerman who posted decent numbers against the Caps this season.

NHL.com Game Won Total Win%
11/11 @DC 8 16 50%
11/26 @DC 8 16 50%
1/04 @DC 4 8 50%
1/12 @TB 4 8 50%
2/04 @TB 5 13 38%
3/07 @TB 9 16 56%
Totals 38 77 49%

Nate Thompson (6’0, 210) is a stout checking center, and he was the only Bolt to do well against the Caps this year.

NHL.com Game Won Total Win%
11/11 @DC 8 14 57%
11/26 @DC 3 4 75%
1/04 @DC 3 5 60%
1/12 @TB 4 5 80%
2/04 @TB 5 7 71%
3/07 @TB 4 12 33%
Totals 27 47 57%

Adam Hall (6’3, 213) is a is a journeyman winger who occasionally takes faceoffs, but he did not do very well against the Caps.

NHL.com Game Won Total Win%
11/11 @DC 3 6 50%
11/26 @DC 1 7 14%
1/04 @DC 3 6 50%
1/12 @TB 7 11 64%
2/04 @TB 5 10 50%
3/07 @TB 5 12 42%
Totals 24 52 46%

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