New Power-Play Wrinkle For Capitals Turns 5-on-4 Into 4-on-3 Advantage

Screen caps: @DimFilipovic

The Washington Capitals‘ power-play set-up has been somewhat predictable at times for  for the better part of a decade. But on Wednesday night, in their 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins, the Capitals set up a little bit differently on a man advantage opportunity late in the second period.

A couple of elements to the Capitals power play appeared to stay the same. Defenseman John Carlson remained at the point while center Nicklas Backstrom stayed in his normal spot along the right half-wall. However, in this new tweak, Alex Ovechkin moved down from the left circle to the left post.

He sat at the post for a majority of the power play and didn’t move.

The tweak essentially takes Ovechkin out of the power play, but also requires repositioning of opposing players down low. If he is covered, the Capitals’ strategy essentially turns a 5-on-4 power-play into a 4-on-3 advantage.

As a result of Ovechkin’s unexpected new positioning, the Bruins’ penalty-killers crowded down low around Ovechkin, seemingly building a wall so that Ovechkin and Kuznetsov would be closed off.

The Bruins response to Ovechkin’s new location next to the post left John Carlson wide open.

This is a good strategy for when the Capitals play against teams that shut down Ovechkin at the right circle (play a tight man coverage), rather than loosely shadowing him which many teams do. Ultimately, it gives the Capitals more space to work with as the new formation turns a 5-on-4 into a 4-on-3.

The Capitals’ first kick at the can with this new strategy didn’t result in a goal, but will likely be tried again. Maybe more importantly, It will also give opposing teams another potential scheme to prepare for.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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8 Responses to New Power-Play Wrinkle For Capitals Turns 5-on-4 Into 4-on-3 Advantage

  1. Anonymous says:

    He just stood there for almost 2 minutes. It was so odd to see.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    F***ing Genius! I like to see these new wrinkles which will keep opposing teams off balance somewhat.

  4. Micah Reed says:

    I love that they changed it up. I did feel like it left the team a little exposed to counters and breakaways with how far down Carlson was able to move. Look at the last image 52 for the Bruins is even with Carlson, and there is nobody between him and the Caps goal.

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