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Despite the win, Caps still struggling on the power play


Despite the win, Caps still struggling on the power play

The Caps' 4-1 win over Boston on Thursday was a rebound win in many ways, but not in terms of the power play. The special teams unit that used to make the Caps such a dangerous offensive team has struggled of late and continued to do so on Thursday.

The Capitals entered the game against Boston on a power play drought after failing to score on their last nine power plays. That streak extended to 10 after the Bruins were able to kill off Torey Krug's first period penalty.

"It was getting frustrating and it was getting tense because the power play's used to having success," Barry Trotz said.

The Caps did finally snap their drought in the second period, but it came on a two-man advantage against a Boston team ranked 30th in the NHL in the penalty kill. For the game, the Caps managed only one power play goal in four opportunities and failed to score on any of their 5-on-4 opportunities against the league's worst penalty kill.

"We've got the same guys on there," Carlson said. "The success has been there, it's not for a lack of want."

"The power play's been getting lots of chances, but in the end you want the goals," Trotz said.

RELATED: Ovechkin, Laich score as Capitals blow out Bruins

It doesn't take long to figure out just where power play unit has been lacking.

Despite having seven goals already in the 2015-16 campaign, Alex Ovechkin does not have a single goal on the power play. His shot from the left faceoff circle has been lethal for years, but the team has struggled to get him the puck in a position where he can unleash his deadly one-timer.

Part of this may be due to the departure of power play fixture Mike Green in the offseason. Besides Nicklas Backstrom, nobody seems to feed Ovechkin as well as Green did.

Part of it also may be due to teams adjusting to the Caps' setup.

"When you've got some of the premiere players in the league, teams are going to really really scout and not take any chances," Carlson said. "People are smart these days. There's things you can do. For us, we've just got to do a better job countering that."

In professional leagues, teams never manage to stay ahead of the curve for very long. Eventually, everyone starts to catch up.

Still, there's no sense of panic in the locker room. Whatever frustration the team felt about the team's power play drought was gone after the goal two-man advantage.

"We wanted to get a little jump back on the power play and get a little mojo and see pucks go in," Carlson said. "I think that was big. That was big for the game, that was big for us moving forward."

Even though the goal now gives the Caps one goal in their last 13 opportunities and did not address the team's struggles on the 5-on-4 advantage, the overwhelming feeling amongst the team is that the goals are coming, it's just a matter of patience.

Said Trotz, "There's too many good individuals on that power play and it's been a good power play for a long time so we're going to score."

MORE CAPITALS: Latta drops gloves with Randell for first fight of Caps season

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Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Dallas Stars

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Stars will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Stars game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (41-24-7) take on the Stars (38-27-8) Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Stars game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Stars
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Islanders game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Michal Kempny - Jakub Jerabek

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Brooks Orpik (lower body injury)


The Capitals-Flyers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”