Capitals at Blackhawks Preview & Game Thread



Washington Capitals (33-17-7) @ Chicago Blackhawks (24-26-8)

7:30PM Central





Anton Forsberg (5-11-3, 3.06 GAA, .907 Save%)


Braden Holtby (28-10-4, 2.82 GAA, .913 Save%)






Bouma-Schmaltz -Kane

















Power Play:

Chicago 15.9% (29th)

Washington 21.1% (T-10th)

Penalty Kill:

Chicago 82.7% (7th)

Washington 80.0% (T-17th)

Corsi FOR % (5-on-5):

Chicago 53.6% (2nd)

Washington 47.8% (25th)


Chicago 49.6% (T-18th)

Washington 50.2% (T-15th)




After an extremely tough loss against the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night, the Blackhawks are still looking to end their eight-game losing streak. They have yet to win a game this month, and sadly have a zero percent chance of making the playoffs. With that being said, their game against Anaheim was one of the better games they had played all season.

From just an entertainment level, the game was a joy to watch. It was filled with great energy and physicality, two things the Hawks have been lacking for much of this season. The game even featured some long scoring draughts coming to an end. Duncan Keith finally scored his first goal this season, and Brandon Saad scored his first goal since early January. Even if it was provoked by the usual antics of the infamous Josh Manson, Ryan Kesler, and Nick Ritchie, it was refreshing to see the Blackhawks play a little pissed off, and it led to a better overall game. Still, the storyline remained the same; a few blatant turnovers by the defense, and lack of finish from the offense, led to the demise of the Hawks once again.

After the game, I started to do some research into advanced statistics, looking for any explanations other than, “they suck,” as to why the Blackhawks have been so dreadful this season. What I found is they aren’t as bad, statistically, as what it seems.

Here are some of the more surprising stats I found:

-The Blackhawks lead the NHL in losses when outshooting their opponent, with 21, 6 more than the next highest team.

-The Blackhawks lead the league in even strength offensive zone starts, at 57.1%.

-As shown above, the Blackhawks are second in the league in even strength corsi for.

-The Blackhawks have FIVE players in the top 50 of corsi for percentage. Saad is 1st with 59.3%, Jonathan Toews is 3rd with 57.8%, Keith is 27th with 54%, Patrick Kane is 34th with 53.5%, and Brent Seabrook is 42nd with 53%.

I understand that advanced stats are not the end all be all, and that this Blackhawks roster has definite holes. But I have two major first impressions after some of my research are this. First, maybe the Blackhawks are just snake-bitten this season. With their core players leading the Hawks to extremely high shot totals and possession numbers, maybe they just have been more unlucky than bad when it comes to scoring, and the history of their core players supports that theory.

Secondly, I think these stats prove how bad the defense has been this season. While consistently controlling the puck, and having more shots on net, the Hawks are still losing a large majority of their games. Sure, not having Corey Crawford is hurting this team, allowing for more bad goals.. But, think about how many bad turnovers this team commits. The game against Anaheim is proof, they control the puck for long stretches, a defenseman makes a horrible turnover, and it ends up in the back of the net. These turnovers don’t lead to large shot totals for opponents, they lead to goals. I will be doing a more in-depth piece within the next week, expanding more on my findings, but I figured it would be some good food for thought before tonight’s game.

Speaking of tonight’s game, this doesn’t look like a great opportunity for the Hawks to end their losing streak. The Washington Capitals come to Chicago after a dominating 5-2 over the Minnesota Wild and feature a stacked roster top to bottom. They have two players, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, in the top 25 in scoring, and their number one defenseman, John Carlson, is fourth in points among defenseman, and top ten in the league in minutes per game. In their only meeting of the season, the Caps embarrassed the Hawks 6-2 in D.C., one of the more memorable losses the Hawks have had all season.

I don’t see the losing streak ending tonight, but I have been wrong before. At minimum, hopefully the game is entertaining, they owe us that much right?

We’ll recap tonight or tomorrow AM. Join the conversation below!


Follow: @CoachMajewski

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