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The powerless power play, Jensen's rough night and Kuznetsov's quiet streak

The powerless power play, Jensen's rough night and Kuznetsov's quiet streak

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.

Check out a recap of the game here.

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.

Puck management

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.

The faceoff

Washington won 29-percent of their faceoffs.

Turning point

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.

Stat of the game

Kuznetsov very quietly has put together a seven-game point streak.

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."

Fan predictions

Just a bit off with this one.

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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What should the NHL look like when the season resumes? Caps GM weighs in on the possibilities

What should the NHL look like when the season resumes? Caps GM weighs in on the possibilities

The NHL season has been paused for two weeks and, with no real timetable for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, no one knows when the season could resume. Whenever it does, there is no question that the season format will have to be tweaked in some way to account for the special circumstances. Because of that, just what the season should look like when play resumes has become a major topic of discussion in hockey circles.

Alex Ovechkin said on Thursday that he would like to see the league jump straight into the playoffs. On Monday, Caps general manager Brian MacLellan weighed in.

"Fair to me would be all teams play the same number of games, both home and away," he said on a conference call, "So depending on the time you have when we come back or if we come back, you could set the schedule at 72, 74 games, close to possible of home and away if you could even those out and then kind of go from there after that."

For MacLellan, the biggest issues are the quality of play in the playoffs and the readiness of the players for that high-intensity hockey.

“I think ideally if time permitted, you would like a few games, but I would also be OK with jumping in the playoffs. I think for the benefit of the quality of play and the players’ health, ideally you’re playing a few games before you enter the playoffs.”

"It's going to be a challenge," he added. "We're going to end up being at least two months off, and to come in at various levels of conditioning -- some of it out of the players' hands -- it's going to be a hard thing to accomplish, to get players into game shape and send them into a playoff-type situation almost immediately."

One issue is that even when the coronavirus is under control, that doesn't mean the threat is totally gone. Unless there is a vaccine, should the NHL return this season certain precautions will have to be taken when the players return to begin practicing.

MacLellan said the team is discussing the possibility of small group skates and what precautions the team can take at its practice facility, MedStar Capitals Iceplex, to help prevent any of the players from contracting the virus.

"We've talked about that scenario taking place where we get on the other side of the virus curve and there's beginnings of you can have small groups," MacLellan said. "Could we structure something at [Medstar Capitals Iceplex] where we're bringing in three, four guys at a time? How do we handle sanitizing the training room, the equipment room? We've gone through these scenarios to be prepared if that becomes the case. If they say in June, OK you can start doing this, as an organization we want to be prepared for it. So that is a possibility and we're discussing it internally."

These are issues that must be discussed because the NHL is adamant that the Stanley Cup be awarded this year and that means probably playing hockey deep into the summer.

"I think depending on how the country, the world handles the virus, I think there is a possibility of playing end of June, July, August," MacLellan said. "I think the league is prepared, they've asked for building dates in August so I'm assuming it's a serious consideration on their part."

Just what that hockey will look like, however, is anyone's guess. There are still too many questions and too many unknowns about the league's possible return for there to be any definitive playoff format for the 2019-20 season. Until there is some clarity on when play may resume and how much time there will be for the remainder of the current season, then everyone remains in the dark.

"There's no set answer to it because I don't know how much time we're going to have," MacLellan said. "If we have eight weeks, do we have ten weeks, do we have more than 10 weeks? Depending on that time frame and if that's even legitimate at the time, you would have to set your schedule there. So could you shorten a series? Could you shorten the end of the schedule? I think all those options are on the table and I think it's just how the virus plays out and how we handle it and how much time we would have to get a season in if we could get a season in at the end."

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WATCH: Carl Hagelin is staying in shape by working out with his daughter

WATCH: Carl Hagelin is staying in shape by working out with his daughter

One of the biggest challenges for professional athletes during this coronavirus pandemic is keeping in shape. The lack of practices and games has forced them to find other ways to work out.

Capitals forward Carl Hagelin is doing his best to keep his legs ready for the return of the NHL season by high stepping in his front yard—with his one-year-old daughter Blanche.

If anything good has come out of this outbreak, it’s been the influx of home videos from athletes hanging out with their families.

Hagelin hasn’t posted much on Instagram since the social distancing guidelines went into effect, but this video with Blanche is already one of the best that’s come from a Capitals player so far.

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