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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Capitals seek to add power back into their power play

By Katie Carrera

The Capitals goal-scoring troubles are nothing new at this stage of the season. They've been limited to two or fewer goals 23 times this year and are averaging more than a goal per game less than they had grown accustomed to.

The lack of success on the power play is one of, if not the biggest, contributors to the decrease in goals. They've scored 30 goals in 175 opportunities (17.1 percent) with the man-advantage this year and are 5-for-63 (7.9 percent) in their last 20 games. While the goals aren't there as often 5-on-5 either, putting the power play back together again would do well to improve the team's overall confidence when it comes to scoring.

"I think it's more the power play can help the 5-on-5," Nicklas Backstrom said. "If you get the power play going we'll get a little confidence there and if we keep playing 5-on-5 we'll feel better and score some more goals there."

In the last game before the all-star break, a 1-0 loss to Atlanta last week, the Capitals had some of their better power play chances in recent memory. They took seven shots over the course of three attempts on the power play with a few more blocked as well, but Washington created chaos around the net -- something that hasn't always occurred as the Capitals have struggled to enter the zone and set up their unit with the man-advantage.

"I just don't think we were trying to pass it through too many people," John Carlson said of what the team liked from those power plays against the Thrashers. "We were making simple plays but with the skill that's on the power play, the way they move the puck teams are going to bite on passes and shade to guys and that's when stuff opens up."

The last time the Capitals faced Montreal they earned a 3-0 win on Dec. 28, but they also went 0-for-8 on the power play. The Canadiens own the 11th best penalty kill in the league heading into tonight's contest with a 19.7 success rate.

By Katie Carrera  | February 1, 2011; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Power play  
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Comments

Haven't we heard this same thing and same quotes for the past 3 months??

Posted by: MattBradley10 | February 1, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

But a healthy Varlamov is clearly more reliable and more complete than either of our other goaltenders. I still say we ought to go after Cristobal Huet, who is on loan to some Swiss league right now. He was the best goaltender we EVER had.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | February 1, 2011 10:19 AM |


@Fergusonfoont:

I agree 100% Huet was great in the pipes for us during the exciting '08 stretch run. In fact, I think its safe to say that he played a larger part in that run than any other single Caps player (with the possible exception of Sergei Fedorov).

However, when offered big bucks (but fewer years) to stay by GMGM, he left the Caps at the altar and bailed for Chicago. GMGM's offer limit was vindicated when Chicago later waived Huet after his play declined, having given the top job to Niemi.


So I am afraid I must say that I do not ever want to see Cristobal Huet in a Capitals sweater again: Having deserted us once, I would have grave doubts about Huet's ability or willingness to Commit To The Weagle. When it comes to goalies,loyalty matters and Huet has demonstrated none. Frankly, if we had to bring back a past goalie, I'd almost rather have Theodore. Yes, him: In his last season with DC, he overcame devastating adversity and played solid--even when the PK and defense were relatively sucky. Just think what JT60 could do with the D & PK as they have been performing this year!


Now if we could just score more goals...

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 1, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

hey sgm....Like I said, you're beginning to sound like vermont.

Posted by: joek443 | February 1, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Joe, if you're going to try to take sgm3 to task why in the world would you pay him such a high compliment? Though I disagree w/sgm3 on a majority of issues, I'm somewhat honored that you'd link the two of us together in the same sentence.

GO GET'EM TONITE JOHNNY, WISH YOU HAD A PARTNER IN CRIME IN #17 BUT OH WELL....

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 1, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

PUT HIM IN A BODY BAG JOHNNY....ha ha ha ha

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | February 1, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

How about a Gordie Howe hat trick tonight for Erskine? I think he will come up flying tonight after having a few days off to rest and will be pummeling people.

Or maybe an John Erskine hat trick which is a combination of a Gordie Howe hat trick plus 3 knockout checks.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 1, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI...great reference, drew a chuckle...

Posted by: boomer44 | February 1, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI...great reference, drew a chuckle...

Posted by: boomer44 | February 1, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

one click...two posts...sorry

Posted by: boomer44 | February 1, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Damn, you just made me visit the bathroom 3 times!! Any of those scenarios would be great, but I'll be happy if #4 just plays a simple, steady, strong game in his own end and makes his presence known physically (I want to see Subban go down tonight, though that'll probably be up to Hendricks/Bradley). I think the potential for Johnny to go with Moen is there, as they seemed to have a little something going last game...I'll keep my fingers crossed because an early thumping by #4, at home, could be just the tonic the team needs.

I think Laich's last fight was against O'Byrne and the Habs a couple yrs ago, and if anyone on the team could benefit from a good fight I think it would be him. He's certainly capable, and I really think a fight would jumpstart his game. I'll keep my fingers crossed for him, too, because we need him going as well.

HABS ARE GOING DOWN!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 1, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

OVECHTЯICK!
OVECHTЯICK!!
OVECHTЯICK!!!

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 1, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute. Cristobal Huet? LOL...

Please tell me you are kidding.

Why don't the caps try to get Brent Johnson back...

OMG...

Haven't you guys been watching, the caps are having trouble scoring, not keeping the puck out of the net.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 1, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I had to wear a Canadiens jersey at my place of employment the day after game seven last year...talk about humiliation!! And there was nothing Erskine could've done to spare me that embarrassment. Ticked me off, still does. A win tonight means we're 2-0 against the Habs w/Erskine in the lineup...not bad considering he wasn't good enough to play against them in the playoffs.

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 1, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

While I agree that a fight would be good for Laich to get into, don't expect it.

Laich is as soft as a marhsmallow. I think his new nickname should be the Marshmallow Man until he proves otherwise.

Just like you won't use Schulz's name until he plays more physical, do the same with the Marshmallow Man. Johnny E expects this of you.

COME ON VERMONTCAPS, MAKE JOHNNY E PROUD!!!!!!

Posted by: sgm3 | February 1, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Rhino...

I will settle for 1-3 points from Ovechkin.

I'll take an Ovechtrick over the next 9 games...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 1, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Caps sure are good at talking.

"Boy, howdy, we just to go to the net and make some traffic!"

Didn't Laich have a t-shirt made if you want money you go to the bank, and if you want goals you go to the net? Is he as poor as he is goal-starved?

If all it took was talk, Caps would be in fine shape. Just put on the ruby slippers and click them three times and say, "There's no coach like Bruce...there's no coach like Bruce..."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 1, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

If BB is gone at the end of the season, one coach I would like to see take his place is Lindy Ruff. His contract is done after this season and he turned down a two-year contract extension there.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 1, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

What is an "OVECHTЯICK", missing the net 9 times or breaking 9 sticks? Can you combine the 2, miss 5 nets & break 4 sticks?

Posted by: chriscaps | February 1, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Ovi couldn't hold Toews socks at this point. Toews turned out to be a "play off beast". Ovi had great chance to knock out Fluery in game 7 with a first period break away.

He missed on several great opportunities against Boucher in overtime against the Flyers.

Bradley had to rescue us against a "piss poor" Rags team.

As Captain, he needed to kick his friend Semin in the rear to play "play off hockey" against the Habs last year. Semin was AWOL. Semin made no effort to follow his shots or screen Halak (as Alan May pointed out with horrific video clips in the post game of game 7)

Ovi did not show up in game 5 last year when we needed to dust the Smurfs. He did not start to play until the usual Caps "panic hockey time".

Toews won the bowl and the MVP. Enough said !!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's time for Ovi to start playing hockey and beat a team of significance in the play offs. Then, he can continue with his "bad ass" persona in public. Right now, the Canadian boy Toews is definitely my Captain for a run at Stanley, not Ovi.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 1, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

@chriscaps

Leave the comedy to the professionals (or at least to those of us that are funny). Here, have a Goat's Blood on the house.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | February 1, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Wax on, wax off...

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 1, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

The question was about who was more iconic. Jonathan Toews doesn't even hold a candle to Ovechkin in terms of that question.

People may rather have Toews be their captain and start their team, that is fine, but that has little to nothing to do with whether the player is iconic.

The Beatles were/are iconic, you, me or others may like to listen to some smaller bands that play a different style of music a lot more than the Beatles, but it doesn't mean those bands are more iconic than the Beatles.

Bo Jackson was/is an iconic two-sport athlete. Even though he didn't win a championship he was/is iconic.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 1, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Description of a truly potent power play:

"If do right, no can defense"

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 1, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Can we please drop the discussion about Ovechkin is or is not "iconic?"

Iconic, ironic, ubonic...it's getting really silly at his point.

Who cares, really, who cares.

Sorry.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 1, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Who cares, really, who cares.

Sorry.

Posted by: tominsocal1 |

If people don't care that's fine.

All I said a while ago is that Ovechkin is the first iconic athlete in DC, who became iconic with his play in DC, in a very long time(Joe Gibbs could be described as an iconic sports figure but he wasn't an athlete).

Then people got all up in arms saying Ovechkin is not an iconic hockey player.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 1, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Right now, the Canadian boy Toews is definitely my Captain for a run at Stanley
--------------

Toews played some great hockey - but so did Kane, Keith, Hossa, Annti Niemmi, Buff, Seabrook, Kopecky [man did he get in Pronger's grill, time and again!] - and Quenneville coached 'em up.

GMGM would mock anyone who said, but Chicago had a much deeper team than we did last year. And better-coached.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 1, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Damn - not only Keith-Seabrook, but coming back with Hjalmarsson-Campbell. That's a pretty good top-4.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 1, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Iconic, ironic, ubonic...it's getting really silly at his point.

Who cares, really, who cares.

Sorry." tominsocal1

But do we care about....

If Ovie eats at Sonic
Likes to drink his gin with tonic
Learns English from Hooked on Phonics
Only sees girl platonic (-ally)
Is scared of the bubonic

Well tom....do you care now?

=)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | February 1, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I looked up "Iconic" in Webster's, I guess it actually has a few meanings:

1) to play out of position on the power play and forced to man the point, despite having been a wing your entire life.

2) To squeeze the stick so hard on scoring opportunities following the twin disappointments of the previous season you snap it in half.

3) To know that, no matter what, you can't win with the likes of Milbury, Grapes and Maguire: if you do what you're paid to do, and snipe - they'll say you don't pass enough, and shoot too much, despite the goals.

4) If you then adjust, and pass even on golden scoring opportunities - giving feeds that even the likes of your past-his-prime, 37 yr old linemate can't miss [but often does], they'll kill you for not shooting enough, and not having enough goals.

5) In the offseason, when the workouts are done for the day, to party like a freaking rock star, with smoking.hot.bikini-clad.Russian.babes.

Iconic.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 1, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

SAOTI:

I don't care! I don't care! I don't care!

I am not a Care Bear!

Personally, I thought "Iconic" was a race of people who lived between Outer Slobovia and the Caspian Sea.

If you imagine vermontcaps in his bearskin coat and with his sword he's probably the absolute picture of Iconic.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 1, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Winners are iconic. Ovi's play off performances have been bubonic (as in the plague).

Toews was supersonic !!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 1, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

@timbo

We have no one our team who instills fear into the other teams forwards like Duncan Keith. This man is a beast, who was breaken' Flyers in half. Until this team starts to play with a nasty "Keith-like edge" we're going no where but "out".

This is probably going to require personnel changes as Sister Mary Rosa at St. Mary's in Rockville could put a "beat down" on half our D men.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 1, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino
@Fergusonfont- sillyname@%^&&&^

Were you "in country" when Kolzig went nuts in "98 ? WTF ? Huet is a French weenie !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 1, 2011 11:47 PM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach
Completely agreed about Keith, what a player. After hearing BB speak so glowingly about his boy compared to Keith - whom, up til the Olympics, I hadn't watched all that closely - I made a point to really study Keith. He is so energetic defensively, and an absolute weapon on the PP, especially when he and Kane start dishing it back and forth. And he breaks the puck out of his zone so efficiently.
Conclusion: Sorry BB, I ain't buying it - Mike Green's no Duncan Keith, no matter how you spin it.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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