Saturday, March 13, 2010

PreCAP (3/14/10)

The Washington Capitals meet the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago on March 14th, 2010, in a nationally-televised game starting at 12:30 PM on NBC. This will be big.


(Photo from Yahoo)

The Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals have been two of the most dominating teams in the league this season. The Caps lead the league in goals, while the Blackhawks are fourth. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are second in the league in goals against, while the Caps fourteenth. Both teams have goaltending issues. Let’s look at some save-percentage comparisons…

First Chicago

Player Save %
Christobal Huet .898
Antii Nieme .910
Average .904

Now Washington

Player Save %
Jose Theodore .910
Semyon Varlamov .911
Michal Neuvirth .914
Average .912

So, statistically speaking, the Capitals’ goaltending is in fact superior to the Blackhawks’. However, Chicago’s goals-against numbers are significantly lower. How is this possible?

The answer is that Chicago allows far fewer shots to reach their goalies than the Capitals do. Chicago’s shots-against average is a low 24.4, while the Capitals’ average is 30.9. I think that it will be very interesting to see what happens if Chicago allows the Capitals to get 30-40 shots on goal; while the Caps’ goalies are more use to that, Chicago’s definitely are not.

These teams are also both in the race for the President’s Trophy, awarded to the team with the most points at the end of the regular season. The Capitals have 99 points, good for #1 in the NHL, while the Blackhawks have 93, good for 3rd in the NHL.

Finally, this game could easily be the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals matchup.  Washington is, without question, the best team in the Eastern Conference, and while the Blackhawks will have a harder time winning the Western Conference, I could see it happening.

Let’s hope the Caps can pull out a win on this one, and also have a very entertaining game. Chicago just lost to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday, March 13th, so they will be tired. As always, go Capitals!


  1. Neuvirth is currently with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, but he did play 13 games while Varlamov was injured.