The Washington Post

Washington leads NHL in quick-response goals against

Allowing a goal within minutes after scoring one themselves has been a problem all season for the Washington Capitals. They have allowed 20 “quick-response” goals against in the NHL (defined here as within two minutes of scoring), but this is one stat no team wants to lead the league in.

During the 2005-06 season, St. Louis and Colorado led the league in these quick-response goals against with 22 each. The Blues wouldn’t qualify for the postseason that season, and the Avalanche would lose in the second round of the playoffs.

The Philadelphia Flyers allowed a league-leading 25 such goals against during the 2006-07 campaign and finished dead last in the Atlantic Division.

After the Ottawa Senators paced the NHL in 2007-08 with 24, they were swept by Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs.

In 2008-09 Atlanta and Toronto each surrendered 27 goals against within two minutes of scoring themselves and neither would qualify for the playoffs.

During the 2009-10 season the Washington Capitals would score 318 goals but allowed the most (20) in quick response. They would see a first-round exit at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens, led by netminder Jaroslav Halak.

In 2010-11 the Los Angeles Kings let up 29 — the most in the salary cap era — and lost in the first round. The same fate suffered by Pittsburgh the following year after 21 goals against within two minutes of scoring.

During the lockout-shortened 2013 season, the Detroit Red Wings would give up 14 quick-response goals against and lose in the second round to the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Washington is on pace to give up 39 of these quick-response goals, which would shatter the mark set by the Kings just two seasons ago. If the Capitals can’t find a way to break this trend, history suggests hockey fans in the nation’s capital could be looking at another postseason disappointment.

Neil Greenberg, when he isn’t watching the games, analyzes advanced statistics in the NHL and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd. Follow him on Twitter: @ngreenberg.
Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.



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