Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
NEW! SIGN IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE
OR
Username or EmailPassword
 
2014 NHL Draft
SHARE

Capitals' power play goes for naught

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Share with your Friends


Capitals' power play goes for naught
Trying to convert with the man advantage has been Mission Impossible for the Washington Capitals against the Canadiens.
MONTREAL -- What if the Washington Capitals' power play was clicking for at least one goal out of every four chances like it did in the regular season? What would the Montreal Canadiens' chances of winning this series be then?

The Capitals have scored 10 goals in the last 82:08. They've scored 13 goals through three games in this best-of-seven series against the Habs and not a single one of them has been on the 14 power plays they've been awarded.

"Yeah, we suck," was Bruce Boudreau's honest assessment of his power play.

Indeed, but the Capitals lead the series 2-1 and have all the momentum after a dominating 5-1 victory Monday night at Bell Centre. So, we ask again, how invincible would these Caps be if the power play was going well?

 
"It's going to be better for us, but I hope when we need it it's going to be working," said Alex Ovechkin, who has been effectively eliminated by the Canadiens' penalty kill. "I don't know, maybe we just need to relax, but we can't play like that on the power play."

Nicklas Backstrom, the half-wall man on the Capitals' top power-play unit, credited the Canadiens for playing much better on the PK now than they did at any point in their four regular-season games against Washington.

"They are taking Ovi away when he's going down low and the other three guys are doing a good job of blocking shots and attacking the point and me on the half wall," Backstrom told NHL.com.

Backstrom, though, also puts the blame on his guys. Washington has 19 shots on goal with the man-advantage in the series, but you can count on one hand how many of those tested the Canadiens' goalies.

"We have to work harder and we have to have a little more traffic and get the shots through from the point," Backstrom said. "We have been struggling to get the shots through and we usually get a couple of shots every power play. Sometime it's going to come; it's going to come soon and hopefully it's going to be positive for the rest of the series."

Ovechkin has been a non-factor on most of the Capitals' power plays because the Habs are staying within a stick's length of him at all times. They are not allowing him to get his shot off.

"But even if they take him away, he's still going to have one guy on him and that's four against three," Backstrom said. "They're afraid of him shooting pucks, but still we have other guys that can shoot, too. We should find a way to score."

Boudreau tried to throw a curveball at the Canadiens by moving Ovechkin around in Game 3, sending him from the point down to the slot and back up and around and through, but it didn't work.

Ovechkin did not have a shot on goal during any of the Capitals 11:29 of power play time. He was back on the point as the team went through a skeleton power play practice Tuesday.

"I think with what we've got on our team, the skills and what we can do, we have to score on the power play like 50 percent, or maybe just a little less," Ovechkin said. "They block some shots, but we didn't move and we didn't do our job. Bruce is right, we're terrible on the power play."

How can they get better? Well, how about trying to keep things simple?

"We've been a little bit (too fancy), yeah," Mike Green said. "You look at the goals being scored in the playoffs, it's the goals that are coming from the points and the sides and there are guys in front battling and they get the rebound and they score. It's not the pretty passes and pretty goals anymore; it's the gritty ones that are going in."

One of those would suffice right about now. The Capitals haven't needed it yet, but they surely will if they want to play on into May and June.

"If we could get this power play going and get a couple on them we'd be dangerous," Green said. "It's a matter of us bearing down and making sure we get the job done. Our power play is going to win us hockey games so we have to make sure we produce."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis