A note on the Caps Goaltending

Washington is a good defensive team - they are better than league-average at suppressing opponent shots across the board:

 

SA/60 5v5 4v5 3v5 4v4
Avg 29.8 51.0 122.1 32.7
Wsh 27.7 47.1 108.0 30.1

 

But they have not been better than average in goal:

 

Sv% 5v5 4v5 3v5 4v4
Avg 0.919 0.880 0.757 0.900
Wsh 0.916 0.894 0.938 0.886

 

As others have noted, special teams save % is much less ability-driven than even-strength save %, no doubt because teams spend about 48 minutes per game at even-strength compared to roughly six down a man, and 0.2 down two men. 

Washington may have in Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth a pair of goaltenders who add up to league-average if they split time 50/50.  But Varlamov has a nagging injury that limits his availability and resulted in the Caps giving 1/8 of their playing time so far to a goalie who's not ready for prime time.  You can't pretend that didn't happen.

EDIT: Let's run through Washington's goaltending scenario:

Varlamov - career .930 SV% @ even-strength.  Likely higher than his true talent (few goalies have talent this high) but let's credit him with it anyways.

Neuvirth - career .916 SV% @ ES.  Possibly true talent.

Neuvirth starts 45 games; Varlamov gets periodically injured, but starts 30 games when he's healthy; and the remaining 7 games are filled by replacement level (.890.)  What do we get?

A .919 even-strength save percentage, which is below the league-average.  It doesn't matter that a 100% healthy Varlamov would be above-average.

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