Capitals power play continues to struggle

© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals’ power play has been a disappointment all season long. Thursday against the New York Rangers, it was once again. 

In a 4-1 loss at Madison Square Garden, the Capitals went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage as they struggled to do much with their chances to climb back into the game in another frustrating night for the power play.

It was a continuation of the problems that have plagued the Capitals all season long, and against Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers, they didn’t have much room for error.

Washington spent 7:07 on the power play and attempted just six shots, with four hitting the net. At five-on-five over 48:14, they attempted 45 shots and put 31 on net. Meaning on average, there wasn’t much difference in their shot quantity while on the power play as compared to five-on-five.

The team did get T.J. Oshie (upper-body injury) back into the lineup for just the third time in 2022, which should provide a boost to the team’s first power play unit the longer he’s in the lineup. In 19 games this season, he’s tallied five goals and eight assists — with one power play goal and three power play assists. But at least for a night, there wasn’t much of a difference with Oshie back. 

Since Jan. 1 (20 games), the team’s power play is 27th in the NHL at just 16.7%. In the eight games in February, they are 20th at 18.5%. In actuality, those numbers are better than their season-long total which is now 15.72%.


There was an attempt at mixing up the lineup in the third period against the Rangers, as the Capitals put defenseman Justin Schultz at the point instead of John Carlson. The end results, however, were the same. 

Per 60 minutes, the Capitals rank 19th in shot attempts (93.31) and shots (54.26), as well as 28th in high-danger chances (15.88) on the power play, according to Natural Stat Trick. In short, it’s a quantity and a quality problem for Washington. For as much firepower as the team has, the lack of impact on the power play has been wildly concerning.

And with the trade deadline just over three weeks (and 11 games) away, the power play will come into increased focus on how, and what, the Capitals can do to fix it. As evidenced Thursday, it can keep them from getting back into a game.