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Caps' power play struggles continue as they go 0-for-6 against Islanders

Caps' power play struggles continue as they go 0-for-6 against Islanders

For many, the reason why the Capitals lost to the New York Islanders on Thursday was obvious. Two disastrous turnovers in the third period by Dmitry Orlov led to two goals for the Islanders in what had been a scoreless tie and the Caps never recovered.

Matt Niskanen saw Thursday's loss differently.

"The story of the game was our power play wasn't very good," he said.

Obviously the mistakes from Orlov were costly, but the Caps' inability to score leading up to that point, specifically on the power play, put them in that position.

"Five-on-five we probably played well enough to be in the game which we were," Niskanen said. "But you get that many chances on the power play you should win the game so that one's on us I think."

RELATED: Orlov's 3rd period mistakes prove costly in loss to Islanders

Washington went 0-for-6 with the man advantage on Thursday against an Islanders team ranked in the bottom half of the NHL with only 82.1 percent success on the penalty kill. A power play that boasts players like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom has now failed to score in its last 10 opportunities and has only one power play goal in its last 14 tries. For the season, the Caps have only a 14.3 percent success rate with the extra man.

And failure on the power play doesn't just hurt the team's offense.

"I think the other team gets momentum off of that many kills too," Niskanen said.

"I think you get lot more momentum from killing penalties than you do from the power play," head coach Barry Trotz said, "...I thought especially in the third when it was 0-0, we had a real good chance to take the game in hand right off the start of the period and it gave us a little momentum and then we came up with a couple of 5-on-5 shifts where we had lot of zone time, buzzing around, all of a sudden it comes down and they score. And it is a little bit deflating, but those are the mental components that you've got to fight through."

The team's struggles are particularly frustrating given the success they have had in recent years. Washington has finished at least in the top five in power play effectiveness in each of the last four seasons. A quarter of the way into the season and they are well off that pace.

That's not good news for a team that has lost its last two games and three of its last five.

"If your power play's clicking, it can be really intimidating thing and our power play has been intimidating in the past few years," Trotz said. "This year, the numbers aren't illustrating that it's intimidating right now."

MORE CAPITALS: Caps prank Vrana in warmups

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

Alexander Ovechkin's offseason continues to be one for the books. 

Just a week removed from celebrating with the Stanley Cup in Moscow, Ovechkin was named Best Male Athlete Wednesday night at the 2018 ESPYs. 

The 32-year-old is the first NHL player to win the award since it was first introduced in 1993. 

"The Great Eight" beat out Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. 

Ovechkin was not in Los Angeles to accept the award.

 

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Can Alex Ovechkin still challenge for another Rocket Richard Trophy? 

Inside Alex Ovechkin's Weekend Party with the Stanley Cup in Russia

 

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Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup wasn’t even nominated for an ESPY

Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup wasn’t even nominated for an ESPY

On Wednesday night ESPN hosts their yearly sports award show, the ESPYs, to celebrate the best of the last 365 days in sport. 

One thing they will not be celebrating, or did not even consider celebrating, was Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final

This year there were 16 plays nominated to be the “Best Play” and were seeded into a bracket. For the past month fans have been voting in each head-to-head matchup culminating in four pretty outstanding plays:

All of those plays can be viewed here

Three of those four were in a championship game, the other was a just a once in a lifetime play from a teenager. 

But the ESPYs are saying that there are 16 plays from this past year that were better than Holtby’s save… Can we really believe that? Everyone loves buzzer beaters, but they accounted for six of the 16 plays. One of them could have easily gotten bumped. 

And aside from the three listed above there were only two that were in the championship event for each sport. Holtby could have rounded it out for six.

We’re not saying that Holtby’s play was the best in the past year, or even in the top four. Heck, there should be no one that tops Ogunbowale’s incredible heroics. But arguably the best play in D.C. sports history not making the top-16 for best plays in a 365 day period? 

It must have been one heck of a sports year.  

For those that are nominated, Alex Ovechkin is a finalist for Best Male Athlete and Best NHL Player. The Capitals are in the running for Best Team.

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