Setting out on a new season: numbers for the morning after

Welcome back to the bedlam that is Capitals hockey and this series of posts.

We embark upon the sixth season that will feature numbers of the sunrise variety. Join me as we traverse the many diverging canals of a full 82 game season on the statistical gondola of truth.

The Caps got off to a hot start in an emotional opener, smacking the New York Rangers 5-1.

Setting out on a new season: numbers for the morning after
  • This offseason the New York Rangers signed a bunch of dudes that hit real well and can punch people’s faces. That worked out well in this season’s opener as they out-hit the Capitals 27 to 12. The major problem there though is that the Caps had their number in all of the other statistical categories that actually matter. For example, the Capitals at five-on-five out-attempted them, out-shot them, out-scoring chanced them, out-high danger chanced them, and…out-scored them.
  • The Capitals did a fantastic job giving absolutely nothing to two players that usually own them in Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. Gerard Gallant did some creative work getting both of those guys on the ice against different Capitals lines but they found little to no success no matter who they were out there with. The Trevor van Riemsdyk and Justin Schultz pairing saw the majority of Panarin and tuned him up. The Capitals with that pairing and Panarin’s line out at five-on-five out-attempted New York eight to one and posted seven scoring chances to the Rangers zero.
  • I really loved what I saw of the Capitals defense overall and that starts with Martin Fehervary. This top pairing of him and John Carlson is going to work and work really well. Fehervary skates like a forward and loves to push the pace. His transitional ability (taking the puck from defense mode to offense mode) is going to fit Peter Laviolette’s system to a tee. Fehervary skated the fourth most of Capitals defenders (17:55) in his first NHL regular season game since February 10, 2020.
Setting out on a new season: numbers for the morning after
  • That dude in that fantastic graphic done by KP is just ridiculous but you all already knew that. Game-time decision? Oh, I’ll just score twice and record four total points. Not much else to be said.
  • Vitek Vanecek got the start in net and did everything asked of him. He stopped 23 of the 24 shots fired his way. I also noticed him in a good way behind his net stopping or slowing down pucks for his defensemen or even getting the puck up the boards as the first outlet in a breakout. Cant ask for a whole lot more from your goaltender.
  • Major congrats are in order for Hendrix Lapierre. The first teenager since Andre Burakovsky in 2014 to score in their Capitals debut. The kid didn’t look out of place to me. Really rooting for him.
  • The New York Rangers played Ryan Reaves 10 minutes and 24 seconds at five-on-five in this game. The following are other Rangers players’ total ice time at five-on-five presented without comment: Filip Chytil 10:21, Chris Kreider 10:46, Ryan Strome 11:10, Alexis Lafreniere 11:10, Mika Zibanejad 11:13, Kaapo Kakko 11:33, Artemi Panarin 11:43.

The Capitals improve to 24-21-1-1 all-time in season openers and 6-0-2 over the last eight seasons.

— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) October 14, 2021

Numbers thanks to and

Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB