Special Teams Taketh, and Special Teams Giveth Away: Capitals’ Power Play Showing Signs of Life, Penalty Kill Struggling Early

Screenshot: NBC Sports Washington

Last season, the Washington Capitals’ power play units ranked in the lower tier of teams across the NHL, a problem that failed the club on more than one occasion. Despite a slow start to the 2022-23 season, the team’s man-advantage seems to be strengthening. Unfortunately, their penalty kill has yet to find its footing just five games into the campaign.

With a two-man advantage in the first period of their game against the Ottawa Senators, the Caps struck twice on two opportunities at the end of 40 minutes, have gone 2-4 so far. The first power play strike came courtesy of T.J. Oshie, who scored his second goal of the season (both PPGs) on assists from Marcus Johansson and John Carlson.

The next came just 34 seconds later on a rocket from Anthony Mantha, who tied Conor Sheary for the (early) team lead in goals, notching his third on the young season on assists from Dmitry Orlov and Sheary himself.

The Caps’ power play has rebounded from a poor start to the season, going 0-9 in the first two games, while scoring on 5 of 7 opportunities in the last two-plus games.

PENALTY KILL STRUGGLES

The Capitals’ penalty kill, however, has struggled mightily so far this season, allowing 5 goals on 13 penalty kills.

The Senators’ power play has proven to be just as efficient on the night, converting on two of three power play opportunities of their own, both by Drake Batherson.

Last season, the Washington Penalty Kill finished 14th overall with an 80% effectiveness. Former Assistant Coach Scott Arniel, who ran the unit, departed in the offseason for a position with the Winnipeg Jets and was replaced by former Hershey Bears Head Coach Scott Allen, who led the Chocolate and White to 12th-best in the AHL and sixth in the Eastern Conference.

The Caps entered tonight’s game sitting in 25th overall in the NHL, killing 70% of the opposition’s power plays. At the end of two, Washington is 0-2 shorthanded.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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2 Responses to Special Teams Taketh, and Special Teams Giveth Away: Capitals’ Power Play Showing Signs of Life, Penalty Kill Struggling Early

  1. Anonymous says:

    Shots- Ottawa: 44; Washington: 24
    Hits-Ottawa: 28; Washington: 24
    Faceoffs-Ottawa: 34; Washington: 19

    Outhit, outhustled, outplayed in every facet of the game. Injuries are an excuse….this team is struggling. Gut check time.

    Also, when CMM has to stand up for 74, we have a heart problem.

    Also, younger faster team blew by the old boys. Hmmmmmm

  2. novafyre says:

    Caps won 36% of faceoffs. Hire Beags as coach. Hold faceoffs tryout. Do something.

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