So, you are picking up NHL16 and you want to know about how to play as your favorite team, the Washington Capitals. Here is a guide to the players themselves, how to set up some lines, and certain tricks on how to play some individuals.
The Caps’ forwards are a deep bunch with scoring punch readily available in the first three lines. Many of the players are two-way forwards, including newest Caps TJ Oshie and Justin Williams, so this a fairly solid defensive team as well. An Ovi goal is provided in the following video:
There is no understating how amazing Alex Ovechkin is as a scorer, both in real life and in this game. He is one of the few players in the game who have the “Franchise” player tag. As you play, it becomes obvious that no other player on the Caps, and maybe in the game has the scoring ability that he does. What makes him unique is that he can score in so many ways.
On the rush you have several options with him. If you carry the puck in with him, he is strong enough to shield the puck from others and can withstand hits and maintain control of the puck. You can also deke around opponents fairly easily and make that patented cut-in move and shoot on net. If someone else carries the puck in, like Nick Backstrom, Ovechkin is often in the great position to receive the puck and skate, or to shoot. Don’t be afraid to try his lethal one-timer on the rush, even in odd positions and angles. Just like in real life, his shot is more accurate and harder than you would believe. Because he is so fast and strong, Ovechkin can get dump-ins, setting up plays.
When in the zone, Ovechkin can cycle the puck and get to the slot for either a wrist shot, backhand, or a slap shot. Just aim for the open area, whether it be on the short side or the far side. Without the puck, look for him when he is in space for a one-timer, and don’t be afraid to let loose from wherever, you will be amazed how often it works, his shot is that accurate and powerful. If Ovechkin is in the slot with his back to the net, pass the puck to him. Protect the puck and work Alex to his forehand, and shoot. Think of it like a basketball center posting up.
The other forwards also have great shooting and skating skills. TJ Oshie is the second best scoring forward. He can control the puck better than just about everyone else and can deke and shoot, just not as well as Ovi.
Nick Backstrom is also a great skater and can control and dig out the puck very well. His passing and vision are his calling cards, and he is rated as an “Elite” player. His shot isn’t quite as good at the other two, but it is pretty good.
Don’t overlook Burakowsky, Johansson, or Kuznetsov. These lefties are top six forwards, and while aren’t as strong as Ovi, Backstrom, or Oshie, their skill and skating will get you goals.
Justin Williams has a nice shot and is pretty strong and his skating is above average.
Brooks Laich, is more than just Julianne Hough’s future husband. He is a faceoff wizard and is good at just about everything. He is the Caps’ “five-tool” player, and even though he is on the third line, he can easily fit into any slot on the top two lines.
Jay Beagle, Latta, and Chimera are effective checkers and all three can score occasionally. Chimera has great speed and acceleration, but remember, his hands aren’t that good. You can deke, but make sure you have enough space and time to do so.
Tom Wilson can be a force in the game. He has an extremely high body checking rating. (The hit on Visnosky obviously had an influence) He can ride on the right side of a scoring line and cause turnovers in the opponent’s zone. While his awareness isn’t as high as others, he has his moments when he can score or cause disruptions which lead to goals.
The top four players act exactly like you would expect. All four can hit and are rarely out of position. The two right-handed players, Carlson and Niskanen, are the two shooters of the four. While all four can shoot hard, Carlson and Niskanen are more accurate and have good wrist shots as well. Because of this, and their skating ability, they can skate in to the circles and place an accurate wrist shot into the top right corner of the net. Carlson is better than Niskanen at this, he is also rated as one of the “Elite” defenders in the game.
The third pairing has Orlov and Chorney?! If you play in General Manager Mode, replace Chorney with Nate Schmidt right away. Hopefully in a roster update, Schmidt will be the default player in all game modes. Orlov has great shot, if you play him as a right defensemen, and you should, look for opportunities to skate to the center of the blue light and let it fly.
Braden Holtby is one of the best goaltenders in the game today and the game rates him as “Elite.” Don’t allow anyone to get open in the slot for those easy shots and the Holtbeast will stop just about everything. Also give him a clear view of long shots whenever possible. Even if the opponent does get a point-blank shot or a cross-ice pass, unless the pass is close to perfect, Hotlby will stop many of those scoring attempts with regularity.
The Umbrella Power Play is the default Strategy in the game for the Capitals. However, I would suggest changing it to the Overload Power Play Strategy. While the Umbrella Power Play has Ovechkin playing in the left circle as the left defenseman, the Overload Power Play more accurately reflects how the Caps run their right-side 1-3-1 Power Play.
In the Overload Power Play, The Center (Backstrom) plays along the right hand wall and the Right Wing (Johansson, but maybe Oshie) positions himself in the right corner and below the end line. These two can swap positions and often do during play. They also pass the puck between each other opening space for the man beyond the red line to step out front and drive the net or pass the puck to any number of people. The player on the half-wall looks for one-timer passing options.
The Left Wing (Oshie, Williams, or Wilson) plays in the slot, looking for a shot while making space for one of the two other forwards to drive or pass.
The Right Defenseman (Carlson) mostly covers the right point and can drift to the center of the blue line, setting up that one time pass to Ovechkin.
The left Defenseman (Ovechkin), has the entire left side to move and pinch in, and with his offensive awareness, does so often. Many times he will be in the left circle taking a pass from either the player on the half-wall on beyond the red line. You can also help create the Ovi Spot Shot by letting Ovechkin have the puck and have him drift into the circle. Carlson will slide into the center of the blueline. Pass the puck from Ovechkin to Carlson, and then back to Ovi for that patented one-timer. Even if Ovechkin isn’t in the circle, his one-timer can still be lethal. Another way to set up the shot is to have Carlson have the puck and skate to the center of the blueline, Ovechkin will usually drift left and in a little bit, setting up that one-timer.
One of my favorite set plays is when the faceoff is in the right circle. Try to win the puck cleanly to Carlson, get the puck from Carlson to Ovechkin with a one-touch pass and unleash the shot, as the whole play drifts left, shoot back to the right, high.
As far as the Lineup for the Power Play, it’s important to have a right-handed shot at Left Wing and Left Defenseman, and a left-handed shot as your Center and Right Wing. However, TJ Oshie might be better at Right Wing because he is great at digging out and controlling the puck.
For the second unit, Use Kuzy and Bura as your Center and Right Wing. Both can play either position. For the second Power Play Left Wing, use Oshie, Williams, or Wilson; just not the one you used on the first Power Play Forward Line. On second defensive pairing, consider using Orlov as the Right Defenseman as he can skate to the center and shoot. I would still use Ovechkin as the Left Defenseman because his is so deadly and has great stamina.
Make sure that Brooks Laich and Jay Beagle are the two Centers for your PK. They are the two best face-off men on the team, and the first play of any Penalty Kill is a face-off in circles of your own zone. For your penalty killing wings, use the player that fits your style of play. If you want to keep your top two lines fresh, use your third-line players, for example. Use the default defensive pairings for the Penalty Kill.
As far as playing the Penalty Kill, don’t chase too much. Make sure Hotlby doesn’t face too many lay-up shots, and your will do well.
The Caps are a deep team. But remember that Ovechkin is the best scorer in the game today, get him the puck. A big key to playing well is knowing your players so you can put them in the right positions in the right situations. This is a fun team to play as, enjoy it!
By Lincoln Cajulis