Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zone Entries: Caps 5 @ Flyers 2

Direct link. Some observations:

Mike Green and Joel Ward I think have been noticeably good each and every game thus far.

Matt Hendricks: +13 Corsi. Mathieu Perreault: +13. Jeff Halpern: +11. Yeah, they had a good night.

Jason Chimera: -8. Brooks Laich: -13. Joel Ward: -4. Could be better, but that's only because my expectations are so high to begin with. Jeff Schultz was a team-worst -14 and Dennis Wideman was a -9. I'm a little confused on Schultz. My rule of thumb is the less you notice him, the better, and I wasn't aware he was playing until he handled the puck in the second. I think those five got caught a few times getting shelled, but as far as I could tell they kept the shots to the outside, so all is good.

Philadelphia is probably one of the best possession teams in the league (they have been since 08-09 and I don't think that will have changed, even with losing Carter and Richards). The Capitals led for over 40 minutes of the game, including by two or more for most of the third, and were only -2 in Corsi. Nice.

Ovechkin was only involved in five entries all game: twice making a pass and thrice carrying the puck into the zone. You could say Timonen, Meszaros, and company did a good job not even letting the rush get started.

Say what you want about Sean Couturier, but a guy who, after being drafted, can immediately step into the lineup of one of the NHL's top-ten teams and be one of the most trusted defensive forwards despite playing behind several more proven players (and one who I think will win the Selke in short order in Claude Giroux) is pretty rare. He deserved to go top-3. I can see Nugent-Hopkins and Larsson above him, but not the others.

I counted 172 entries, with the Caps getting 84, 49%. There was a noticeable lull for the second half of the second and the Caps more or less going into a shell for the final half of the third, 24 of 78 from 12 minutes left in the second to the end of the game at full and even strength. At 5v5, the Caps got, per my quick count, a pretty unimpressive 57 of 136, however (all those power plays boosted the totals). That's only 42%. Even with a lead, I'd like to see closer to 46 or 47 (then again, the difference is only a handful of entries going the other way).

I hope Troy Brouwer isn't turning into Eric Fehr (promising career but a shoulder injury or two sets back his development quite a bit).

Marcus Johansson outmuscled someone along the boards in the third (I want to say it was Jakub Voracek). That would not have happened last season. He still got beat a few times along the boards, but he's noticeably stronger on the puck and along the boards.

Tomas Vokoun, eh? When was the last time he had a four goal lead to defend? When was the last time his team was 6-0?

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