The Washington Capitals powerplay has been the talk of the town over the last month. The Capitals powerplay has sputtered since December. It has become a recent detriment instead of an asset. One way or another, the Capitals must find a fix for the powerplay.
ADJUST THE APPROACH
Typically, the Capitals go top heavy with their skilled players on their top unit. While this move provides plenty of success, it can become quite predictable as the season progresses.
The Capitals like to set up Alex Ovechkin for his prime shot in his “office.” While this is a good move, the Capitals cannot continue to use this same move in the arsenal. The Capitals must find ways to move Ovechkin around more in the offensive zone. One wrinkle the Capitals coaches should implement is to try to free up more open ice for Ovechkin to skate and shoot pucks on the rush. The same could be said for players like Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom to receive more pucks off on-ice rushes.
The Capitals have plenty of skilled forwards that have a ton of speed. The Capitals can afford to attack the offensive zone with more speed with the man advantage.
Another way to adjust the approach is to collapse the formation. The Capitals must use their size to their advantage in these situations. The Capitals have plenty of skilled forwards with size. They can afford to attack the net with multiple bodies. The easiest way to do this is to simplify things. The Capitals must learn to shoot more pucks toward the direction of the net. Sometimes a lucky puck bounce off the boards can shoot to the front of the net or in the blue paint area.
ADJUST THE PERSONNEL
The Capitals have the personnel to throw various looks at the opposition. When a team needs to inject a spark into a powerplay, the coaches should consider throwing a spark plug player out to cause havoc in the blue paint.
Some players that comes to mind on the current roster are Garnet Hathaway, Tom Wilson, and Carl Hagelin. These players like to get near the net and cause havoc to the opposition. This adjustment to the powerplay would only be something temporary, but it would at least provide the opposition a different look.
SHOOT THE PUCK MORE
The Capitals have a great offensive attack. The Capitals powerplay is centered through Alex Ovechkin. If they can get more players to shoot the puck a little more, it will create more open ice. More open ice for the Great 8 equals more Grade A chances for goals.
By: George Foussekis