Tonight, the Washington Capitals will try to end their West Coast road trip on a good note as they take on the San Jose Sharks. The Capitals haven’t beat the Sharks in San Jose since October 30, 1993. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, the last time the Capitals beat the Sharks in San Jose…
- Tom Wilson and Connor Carrick weren’t even born yet.
- Meat Loaf told us what he would do for love:
- Alex Ovechkin was 8 years old and Evgeny Kuznetsov was 17 months old.
- NHL 94 had just been released.
- The Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques were NHL teams and the Colorado Avalanche did not exist.
The Capitals will have to bring their A game if they want to end this streak, as the Sharks are one of the best teams in the NHL and are better than the Capitals in multiple ways. Let’s look at goals scored.
The Sharks have a 209-197 advantage as far as goals scored. Now let’s look at goals against.
The Sharks have conceded 165 goals against, good for fourth fewest in the NHL, while the Capitals have allowed the 23rd fewest goals in the NHL with 203. Let’s compare their penalty kills.
Sort of hard to see, but the Sharks have the seventh best PK% in the NHL (84.5%). The Capitals have the eighteenth best in the NHL (81.4%). Let’s compare their Fenwick For %. Fenwick has to deal with how many shots a team takes. That includes the shots that miss the net. Blocked shots do not count. If you want to count blocked shots, Corsi includes them. Fenwick For % tells you the percentage of the shots taken that are by that team. Example: Let’s say there’s 100 shots in a game. If a team shoots 60 of them, their Fenwick For % would be 60%.
The Sharks have the third best Fenwick For % when at even strength. The Capitals have the 26th best. That’s not good. There is one category where the Capitals are better than the Sharks: their power play.
The Capitals have the second most efficient power play in the NHL, while the Sharks have the 22nd best. The Capitals must capitalize on power plays and play well when killing penalties. That’s been true for most of the season, but it is especially true tonight. Game time is at 10:30. I’ll be at the Russian Machine Never Breaks party if you’re in the DC area and want to join me.