The Capitals' vaunted power play may have hit rock-bottom on Wednesday with five opportunities to take control of a close game as it failed to score in a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Observations from the loss
The power play
It's bad right now. With the score tied at 2, Washington had three straight power plays and failed to score on any. Down one in the third period, they were given an additional two power plays and could not score on either of those. They finished the game 0-for-5.
I know the power play struggled last season, but it is too simplistic to say it has been continuously bad. Last year the issue was zone entries. They struggled immensely on zone entries and relied far too heavily on the drop pass. The issue this season, and on Wednesday specifically, was the setup. They were predictable, they made bad reads, poor passes and struggled to threaten goalie Carter Hart at all.
Since Dec. 1, the Caps rank 30th on the power play at 13.7-percent.
Jensen's rough turnover
Nick Jensen will want to forget about the start of this one. Trying to skate the puck out of the defensive zone, Sean Couturier approached Jensen on the forecheck and Jensen just lost control of the puck. Couturier passed to Travis Konecny who was alone on net and he hit the corner of the net for the early 1-0 lead.
Jensen fumbled the puck away before Couturier even got to him. You could see the gears turning in his head and he overthought things and just lost the puck. That seems like a confidence issue.
Jensen is a very good one-on-defender on the right side, but that is being overshadowed by bad turnovers, misreads and poor plays on his offside. He needs a confidence boost in the worst way.
It was bad. There's your analysis. Bad passes, bad turnovers, poor decisions, not taking the easy plays, you name it. This was just a sloppy game.
Washington won 29-percent of their faceoffs.
Given the struggles on the power play, it was fitting that the turning point of the game came on a shorthanded goal.
The play was set up by a poor decision from Evgeny Kuznetsov. He skated the puck into the offensive zone, wheeled around to the wall and decided to pass the puck back to John Carlson. The problem was that Carlson was not yet in the offensive zone and was covered. He had to hustle to get to the puck before it left the zone, but Scott Laughton was on top of him and he had nowhere to go with the puck. He tried to send it back to Kuznetsov along the boards, but it was picked off by Hayes who took it in for the breakaway goal.
Play of the game
This is a complete effort by the top line with Alex Ovechkin generating the turnover with the forecheck, Tom Wilson making the quick pass and Nicklas Backstrom finishing off the play.
The Flyers: 'Wow, loving this early lead."— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 9, 2020
Nicklas Backstrom: "Yeah, about that..." pic.twitter.com/inOJIo7Dyh
Stat of the game
Kuznetsov very quietly has put together a seven-game point streak.
Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded an assist on Vrana's goal and has now recorded a point in seven straight games (4g, 5a), two games shy of the longest streak by a Capital this season (Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson: nine games).— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) January 9, 2020
Quote of the game
Not surprisingly, Todd Reirden was asked about the power play after the game and how to improve when things get stale.
"I think you have to continue to look at things and evaluate criteria that are important to power plays and what has been areas of important criteria for the success we’ve had over the last few years and number of years with this team. Look at the amount of entries, the amount of recoveries, the amount of turnovers, those numbers were not in our favor tonight. Like I said, you don’t need to score every time, it is not possible to score every time, but you have to give momentum to our team, and we gave it to the opposition tonight, especially at the end of the second."
20-0 caps— 🏆🦅 xALLCAPSx 🦅🏆 (@xOviTheGoat) January 8, 2020
Just a bit off with this one.
Jensen gets a point.— jimmy hutchins (@CAPSNFIVE) January 8, 2020
Well, he didn't get one for the Caps.https://twitter.com/MiceM11/status/1215063786308153344
These are supposed to be bold predictions.
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