Power Play Struggles Doom Capitals In Florida: Post-Game Analysis

Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Florida Panthers, 5-2 Tuesday night in Sunrise, Florida. The team’s struggles on the power play and even-strength scoring continued for a fourth-consecutive game. The Capitals record falls to 7-9-2 on the season. 

LINES AND PAIRS

Joe Snively replaced Connor McMichael and Sonny Milano and Connor Sheary flipped spots on the right side. Darcy Kuemper got the start between the pipes.

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Sonny Milano
Marcus Johansson – Dylan Strome – Conor Sheary
Joe Snively – Lars Eller – Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — John Carlson
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Scratched: Connor McMichael, Alexander Alexeyev

Injured: Connor Brown (ACL, missed 14th straight game, out indefinitely); Dmitry Orlov (lower-body, fifth, day-to-day); Carl Hagelin (hip, 18th, indefinite); Tom Wilson (ACL, 18th, indefinite); Nicklas Backstrom (hip, 18th, indefinite); T.J. Oshie (lower-body, ninth, indefinite); Beck Malenstyn (finger, seventh, week-to-week)

Suspended: Nicolas Aube-Kubel (second of three)


FIRST PERIOD

The Capitals once again garnered the opposition’s backup/second-best netminder in Sergei Bobrovsky (.897 sv%), as Spencer Knight (.922 sv%) had the “night” off.

Both teams had early high-danger scoring chances, with the Joe Snively – Lars Eller – Anthony Mantha line working the best for the Capitals in the early going. However, it would be the Panthers to first dent the twine.

The Panthers, who had the leagues second-best Corsi-For (CF%) entering tonight’s tilt,  dominated the shot attempts in the first 12 minutes of the game, as Darcy Kuemper was once again under siege.

Capitals were lucky to be down just 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. Florida led in shots on goal, 20-7, even-strength shot attempts, 29-13 and scoring chances 20-6. The Capitals evened up possession at the 12-minute mark (blue arrow), with shot attempts equal for the remainder of the period. The Capitals dominated the dot, 77-23%.

SECOND PERIOD

The Panthers stretched their lead to 2-0 with a power play goal early in the middle frame, although even-strength play remained fairly even. The Capitals finally beat Bobrovsky with a snipe from Dylan Strome during 4-on-4 play, late in the second period, making 2-1.

The Capitals had four power plays in the middle frame, but we’re unable to convert on any of them, extending their power play scoring drought to 0 for the last 20 man-advantage  opportunities.

The middle frame concluded with the Cats leading the Caps, 2-1. Florida led in shots on goals, 13-12 in the second stanza. Play remained fairly even at 5v5, with the Cats leading in 5v5 shot attempts 8-7 in 2nd period. Scoring chances at 5v5 were even, 2-2. Florida did have a sizable lead in xGF 1.47 to .58.

THIRD PERIOD

Laviolette began to shake-up the lines right from the start of the final period, as Aliaksei Protas was elevated to the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Sonny Milano moved to the third line with Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha. The second line was the only line that remained the same.

The Capitals controlled a majority of the possession in the early going, and mounted a fierce push for a majority of the period, but it was once again the Panthers that found the back of the net, stretching their lead to 3-1.

To the Capitals credit, they continued the push and would answer with a goal from John Carlson during a delayed penalty at 6-on-5 midway through the period. The Capitals were awarded another power play just a few minutes later, but failed to convert, making it 0 for 5 in the game, and o for last 21 power play opportunities.

The Panthers would restore their two-goal lead moments later, making it 4-2. They would add an empty net goal for the 5-2 final.


HEAT MAP

PLAYERS

Because of the line shakeup in the third period we got a better cut of data regarding individual play. Six Capitals skater had an expected goals for percentage (xGF%) above 50%, with another four or five skaters ne’er the 50% mark.

  • Alex Ovechkin had 9:57 of power play time in the game.
  • The Capitals 4th line struggled in this one.

MISCELLANEOUS SHAVINGS

  • The Capitals extended their power play drought to 0 for 21 in the last four games.
  • The Capitals won the battle at the dot, 55-45%.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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7 Responses to Power Play Struggles Doom Capitals In Florida: Post-Game Analysis

  1. novafyre says:

    The Stingrays also played in Florida last night. The Rays, hit by Caps do-not-score bug, lose 3-0. Clay let in 2 goals on just 17 shots (third was ENG). Rays had 30 sog. I clicked on ‘highlights’ and was told “Match highlights are not available at the moment.” Can’t disagree with that. Doubt there were any highlights.

  2. KimRB says:

    In depth, post-game analysis:

    We suck!

    I’m known for my economy of words

  3. hockeydruid says:

    What happened, did the Caps decide to leave the ice the last 4 minutes of the game?

  4. novafyre says:

    Nor morning skate today? Nothing happening in St Louis? No one meeting at the Fair?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      No news out of St. Louis. I don’t think any of the media made in time for 12:30 practice.

      • novafyre says:

        Shame on them. And with St Louis being an hour behind as well.

        And so nothing out of Caps PR either I guess means that Lavi hasn’t been fired, no one has been sent down to Hershey nor brought up, NAK still suspended, no one carted off the ice in Sunrise. So we’re still looking at the same cast of characters as last two games. Same tune, same words, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

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