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Like almost everything else, the Caps' power play is on fire, too

Like almost everything else, the Caps' power play is on fire, too

After struggling to find consistency over the season's first two-plus months, the Capitals’ power play has finally returned to its previously prolific self.

In the past eight games, in fact, the unit has scored a least one goal seven times. During that span, Alex Ovechkin and Co. have connected on nine of 18 opportunities for a ridiculous 50-percent effectiveness rate.

No team has scored more power play goals during that timeframe.

For comparison’s skate, in the eight games prior to the current torrid stretch, the Caps’ power play connected on just one of 24 opportunities.

The latest example of the unit's resurgence came during Monday’s 6-1 romp over the visiting Hurricanes. Washington got just two chances—but defenseman Dmitry Orlov made sure the unit did not go home empty handed, ripping a one-timer from the top of the circles that tipped off of Jordan Staal’s stick before eluding goalie Cam Ward. The first of Orlov's two goals, it pulled the Caps even with the scuffling 'Canes, 1-1.

The Hurricanes, meantime, came into the game with the NHL’s top-rated penalty kill.

RELATED: Caps crush Canes with six unanswered goals

Barry Trotz acknowledged that his assistants have made some opponent-specific tweaks in recent weeks. But the head coach also credited the group’s crisper execution, especially around the net, for the turnaround.

“We made some adjustments,” Totz said. “They’re [also] playing with some pace. They’re shooting. And their execution is much better. We’re more net hungry. There’s a lot of pride in it. They know that they can inch their way better and be a big part of it and be a weapon for us.”

Overall, the unit is up to 14th in the NHL at 20.7-percent after languishing in the bottom third earlier this season.

Something else notable about the power play’s sudden surge? It’s getting contributions from all over the place. Since the hot stretch began eigth games ago, six different players have scored with the man advantage—Ovechkin (three times), T.J. Oshie (twice), Justin Williams, Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky and Orlov.  

Orlov said he believes the uptick has less to do with X’s and O’s and more to do with the aforementioned execution. And, in particular, putting pucks on net.

“We just maybe start to hit more net and get more luck, you know?” the Russian defenseman said. “That’s why we’re having success right now.”

Oshie agreed with much of Orlov’s assessment.

“I think we were getting a lot of good looks earlier [in the season] but we were missing the net a lot,” he said. “We just weren’t capitalizing, and now we’re finding ways to score, finding different ways to run the power play. My unit is not that much different, just some different reads here and there. The other unit can bring two different looks at you.”

“So,” Oshie added, “I think it’s harder for penalty kills to read what we’re going to do. And anytime Ovi taking is getting one timers on that side, it’s always a good thing; it opens up a lot for us.”

MORE CAPS: Defense is stepping up big

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T.J. Oshie meets up with Seattle Jr hockey players after game in Arizona

T.J. Oshie meets up with Seattle Jr hockey players after game in Arizona

Despite a 3-1 loss to the Coyotes as the Capitals continue their west coast swing, there was one good thing to come out of Saturday night.

Even after a disappointing game, T.J. Oshie took some time to visit with a young group of hockey players from the Seattle Jr Hockey Association, a minor hockey league located in the Pacific Northwest. The team happened to be in town as they participated in a travel tournament.

While this is already enough to make one smile, there's a deeper connection between Oshie and the SJHA that makes it even better. Oshie, who grew up in Washington, got his start in hockey playing in the same league as the kids he visited with. With them being in Phoenix, Oshie got the surprise opportunity to re-connect with his humble beginnings and make some young hockey players very happy.

The Caps performance on Saturday didn't give many reasons to feel good, but this moment provided by Oshie is something that will cheer anyone up.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Capitals at Golden Knights: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Capitals at Golden Knights: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

The Washington Capitals continue their road trip, heading to Vegas looking for recover from an 3-1 attack to Antti Raanta and the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night. 

While the Caps look for a win, Alex Ovechkin looks to make history, joining the 700 goal club. Ovi currently sits just two goals short at 698 goals and has not scored a goal in four straight games now but that can change in no time. 

The Caps will face Marc-Andre Fleury and the Golden Knights on Monday night at 6 p.m. Fleury earned the victory in the net for Vegas after collecting 19 saves in their shut out game over New York Islanders. The Golden Knights have won their last two games by one goal. 

Here is everything you need to know about the Monday night game, which takes place at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington. 


What: Washington Capitals at Golden Knights, Game 59 of the 2019-20 NHL Regular Season

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV 

When: Monday, February 17 at 6:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals at Golden Knights game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Golden Knights on NBC Sports live stream page and on the MyTeams App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM


5:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

5:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

6:00 PM: Capitals at Golden Knights

7:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

9:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live


Capitals: Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Upper body, day-to-day

Golden Knights: Alex Tuch, RW, Leg, Week-to-week


Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals (40-17-57): Sitting at 698 goals, Ovi remains on the brink of making history with 700 goals. As soon as Ovechkin reaches that mark he’ll be ranked among the greats including Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Jaromir Jagr.  

Braden Holtby, G, Capitals (21-12-4): Despite the Caps loss on Saturday Braden Holtby was by far the best player on the ice. Holtby stopped 28 of 30 shots during a 3-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Golden Knights (22-14-5): Fleury came in clutch earning a shutout by stopping all 19 shots that he faced in a 1-0 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday. Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his fourth shutout of the season and the 60th of his career.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.