Less Shots = More Goals?

Posted October 14, 2013

(Troy Brouwer : Photo by Alena Schwarz)

Twenty minutes into tonight’s game against Edmonton, the Washington Capitals had only three shots on goal, and magically were tied 1-1. We began lamenting the lack of shots on Twitter, but in reality the Caps had a 33% shooting percentage, and were tied where it really mattered, the scoreboard.

During the 2nd period, the Caps started slow again, and at close to the midway point in the period, they only had 6 shots total, to which we quipped :

Much to our delight, this opened the flood gates. Yes, we take full credit for things that professional athletes do on the ice, when they don’t even know what is happening on Twitter.

Joel Ward scored on the power play at 10:06, the Caps 7th shot. Alex Ovechkin then scored on the 8th shot at 13:18. The Capitals were well on their way to a victory and free wings at that point. Troy Brouwer then struck next on the power play at 14:01, with the team’s 10th shot of the game.

The offense starved Capitals scored three goals in less than four minutes, and four goals on their first ten shots of the game. They had only scored four goals total in the previous three games, all losses. Our quick math indicates the Caps were shooting with 40% effectiveness. That type of efficiency would have resulted in 16 goals against Colorado on Saturday, when the team put up 41 shots on Semyon Varlamov. Of course they didn’t score on any of their final 10 shots, moving that shooting percentage to a more reasonable 20% for the game.


So maybe the number of shots wasn’t all that relevant, especially when you’re playing against the goaltending stylings of one Jason Labarbera. In those previous three losses, the Capitals had averaged 33 shots on goal. Tonight they managed only 20, their lowest total of the season, yet put four pucks behind Dubnyk’s backup. That’s just the way the puck bounces sometimes in hockey. Sometimes they all seem to go in, and other times you make Semyon Varlamov look like a Vezina candidate.

That 2nd period outburst allowed us to turn our focus to rooting openly for free chicken wings, as this is really the true measuring stick for success in Washington. Sadly that dream was not to be on this Columbus Day. Ruining Canadian Thanksgiving with a second win against the dregs of Alberta will have to do. Take heart Canada, at least your Government will open in the morning.