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Caps' penalty kill was still bad on Thursday, but delivered when it mattered most

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Caps' penalty kill was still bad on Thursday, but delivered when it mattered most

If the Caps had lost to the Islander Thursday night, it would not have been hard to figure out why.

Both teams were given four power play opportunities on the night. Washington went 0-for-4. The Islanders scored twice.

New York tied the game at 1 with a John Tavares power play tally and tied the game again at 2 apiece in the second period thanks to Anders Lee.

“They got back in the game on special teams,” Barry Trotz said to reporters.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: the penalty kill is a major concern for the Capitals and Trotz didn’t mince words after the game.

“At home our special teams numbers are not very good at all,” he said. “On both sides.”

He’s not wrong.

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In five home games this season, the Caps have scored only once in 19 power play opportunities for a paltry 5-percent success rate. The lone goal came in the home opener on Oct. 7. The penalty kill has struggled as well as the team has killed off only 15 of 22 power plays for a kill rate of 68-percent and it almost cost Washington the win on Thursday.

But while Trotz was quick to recognize how the team’s struggles on the penalty kill allowed New York to stay in the game, he was also slow to criticize the unit.

“We've got a lot of new people on the back end and also killing penalties so it's a work in progress,” he said. “It's part of the whole process. Coaching staff's working hard on it and the players take a lot of pride in it. We'll go through stretches where it's given up some goals, but it showed resilience. We give up two power play goals and when it really counted, they had two power plays and they didn't score. That's a lot on the resiliency of the guys.”

That certainly is a glass-half-full way of looking at it.

It may be a stretch to say that about the first penalty Washington killed off as it came in the second period with the Caps leading 2-1. It is absolutely fair, however, to point to their second kill as a critical moment in the game.

MORE CAPITALS: CAPS GET RARE FIRST GOAL

With the game tied at 3 in the third period, Taylor Chorney took an interference penalty. Washington had only killed one of three penalties to that point so it was easy to believe the Caps could potentially allow the tying goal and ultimately see another two points slip away, but they were able to get that last critical kill.

Less than one minute after Chorney came out of the box, Eller scored the game-winner.

Killing two out of four power plays is nothing to write home about and the team knows it has to be better on special teams at home, but it was that final penalty kill that ultimately proved to be a critical moment in the win.

Said Trotz, “I'm not going to beat up on the PK because the PK, when it mattered most, they got it done.”

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Capitals Faceoff podcast: Barry Trotz has his work cut out for him

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Capitals Faceoff podcast: Barry Trotz has his work cut out for him

Barry Trotz is now the head coach of the New York Islanders, a team that missed the playoffs and just lost their franchise player. So how does next season look on Long Island?

In the long summer months, the Capitals Faceoff Podcast will take a look at some of the Caps' competition next season. In this episode, it's the New York Islanders. Brian Compton of NHL.com joins Rob Carlin and Tarik El-Bashir to talk about what Trotz brings to Long Island and what's left to work with.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Monumental announces major improvements for in-game experience at Capitals and Wizards games

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Monumental announces major improvements for in-game experience at Capitals and Wizards games

Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced an overhauled in-game entertainment experience for the 2018-19 Wizards and Capitals seasons on Wednesday. 

These changes include a new DJ stage, new permanent 3D on ice/on court projection system, along with new Wizards and Capitals entertainment squads, as Capital One Arena undergoes $40 million in renovations.

“We are committed to putting on the best show possible for every fan who comes to a game at Capital One Arena,” said MSE President of Business Operations Jim Van Stone.  “So, as we upgrade the facilities at the Arena this summer, we are also upgrading all of our in-game entertainment to keep the experience fresh and on the cutting edge.”

“We’re excited about these new changes to our game entertainment experience,” said Hunter Lochmann, MSE Senior Vice President of Marketing.  “We work hard to create the best, most engaging entertainment experience in professional sports and we hope fans love this new, revamped energy.”

 

Some of the other improvement announced were:

  • Digital signage experience throughout the fully-renovated concourses that will pull fans into an exclusively all-Wizards or all-Capitals team experience each night highlighting player and team imagery on each concourse
  • Sponsored quadrants in the Arena where fans will experience concourse takeovers and can expect special offers and giveaways from sponsors
  • Olympia ice resurfacer bus: groups of fans will be able to take pre-game and intermission rides
  • Award-winning, chef-inspired dining experience featuring options from premiere chefs David Chang, Cat Cora and Alex McCoy
  • A transformed and modernized PwC Club offering some of the best sightlines in the Arena and new 100-level lounge, both featuring top-of-the-line comfort seating and exclusive food and beverage options so fans can gather in style during the games 
  • A new in-bowl broadcasting platform for NBC Sports Washington

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