Now 10 games into the season, if the Caps have shown us anything it’s that the power play is still absolutely lethal.
But is the power play so good that it is making Washington look better than it is?
The Caps rank second in the league in offense with 3.80 goals per game, but that offense is propped up by the league’s top power play which is producing at 37.1-percent. If you break the goals down into strength, Washington has scored 21 goals at five-on-five (14th in the NHL) and 11 at five-on-four (3rd).
Think the Caps stars’ are all off to great starts? It certainly looks that way as Evgeny Kuznetsov has 15 points, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson have 14, Nicklas Backstrom has 13 and T.J. Oshie has 10.
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Pretty good, right? If you take away the power play points, however, that leaves Kuznetsov with seven, Ovechkin and Carlson with six, Backstrom with five and Oshie with eight. What’s more, all five of Kuznetsov’s goals and both of Backstrom’s came on the power play. That means both players are still searching for the first five-on-five goals of the season.
Heck, the team’s most impressive offensive player to start the season may actually be Jakub Vrana who has three goals and five points and all five of those points came at even strength.
As a team, Washington seems to be dependent on the power play as well. The Caps have been held without a power play goal only three times this season and they went 0-2-1 in those three games.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that the power play is doing well. Considering the talent on this roster, if you give the Caps the opportunity with the extra man they should be able to make teams pay.
But the power play may be propping up the offense and making it look better than it really has been to this point.
It’s still early in the season. The referees will eventually become stingier with the calls, the penalty kills around the league will start to catch up and the production on the power play will inevitably start to decrease. Washington is not going to score on 37.1-percent of their opportunities all season.
What will the Caps’ offense look like at that point when the power play does start to decrease? Will Washington be able to keep scoring when it can no longer rely on the power play? Or will the offense and the team start to slip?
For now, however, the power play keeps helping the Caps win and stay high in the rankings.
CHECK OUT HOW HIGH HERE IN THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS.
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