After an uncharacteristically sluggish start to the season, the Capitals’ power play has slowly but surely reclaimed its rightful spot among the NHL’s elite units.
In fact, entering Saturday’s game against the Ducks, Alex Ovechkin and Co. had climbed into a tie for 6th with a 21.9-percent success rate. Last season, the unit finished fifth at 21.9-percent.
The Caps’ surge can be traced back to a power play goal scored by Ovechkin in Montreal on Jan. 9. Including that goal, the Caps have scored 16 times with the man advantage over the past 16 games.
No team in the NHL has had more success (38.1-percent) on the power play during that span.
For comparison’s sake, Washington’s power play was clicking at just 16.4-percent (19th) from opening night through Jan. 8.
Ovechkin is now tied for second in the league in power play goals with 11. The Caps' captain has also led his team's recent charge with five power play goals over the past 16 contests. But he's gotten plenty of help, too, from all over the lineup and across both units. In all, seven players not named Ovechkin have also found the back of the net since Jan. 9th.
Coach Barry Trotz attributed the uptick to some minor tweaks and an increase in precision.
“We’re executing [and] we’re executing with pace and with a little more precision,” Trotz said. “There have been a few adjustments for each [unit] and they seem to be grasping on it.”
The players have also grasped the fact that they’ve got to bear down when they do get an opportunity. During their 16-game hot spell, their 42 power play opportunities are 14th most. For the season, their 164 power plays rank 18th.
“The fact that we’re not getting a lot of power plays—I know the coaches have [said], ‘We don’t get many so make them count,” Trotz said.
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