Lethargic power play comes back to haunt Caps in opening loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
A blight that plagued the Washington Capitals throughout last season reared its ugly head again during a 5-2 opening night loss to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. In the effort, Washington went 0-for-4 on the power play.
Worse still, the Caps only mustered seven shots on goal in eight complete penalty minutes during the loss. Their third power play of the night, a minor slashing call on Taylor Hall in the second period, was the least effective of the bunch as Washington didn’t register a shot of any kind, on goal or otherwise.
“Things to work on, obviously. We have so many talented players on the power play that we need to get at least one goal,” said Anthony Mantha, who put up the first of Washington’s two goals on the night. “It’s still early. We’ll figure it out. I’m not worried.”
Feeble power play work last year cost the Capitals several chances at clawing their way back into games, especially in the first half of the season. Washington finished 23rd in the league with just an 18.8% success rate on the man advantage last year.
The veteran power play core of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and John Carlson all return for the Capitals this year, though. A sluggish start for that unit after one game surely isn’t enough to cause any panic, but does provide an area for improvement for the remaining 81 games on the season.
It also doesn’t help that Washington won only 37.3% of faceoffs on opening night, or that they found themselves in a 3-0 hole shortly after the start of the second period.
When asked specifically about the power play, head coach Peter Laviolette pointed to the lack of cohesion elsewhere on the ice.
“First half of the game, we were outdone 5-on-5, outdone on special teams, and it ended up costing us,” head coach Peter Laviolette said postgame. “There were goals missing. I thought again there was some disconnect at times. Not the power play, just us in general, we were disjointed it seemed for the first half of the game.”
It’s a long season and Washington has plenty of time to improve their power play. Their next test is a daunting one, though, as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs up north on Thursday night. Toronto boasted the NHL’s best power play last season, striking on 27.3% of man advantages.