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Posted at 12:47 PM ET, 12/11/2011

Capitals hope power-play success continues

When the Capitals scored four times on the power play against the Toronto Maple Leafs it marked the first time since Dec. 5, 2009, that the unit accounted for that many goals in a single contest.

Left to right: Brooks Laich, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer get ready for a faceoff on a power play on Nov. 21. (Toni L. Sandys - THE WASHINGTON POST)
Given Washington’s recent struggles on the man advantage, seeing the much-maligned unit snap out of its slump was a boon for the team’s confidence. The Capitals went four for six against Toronto after breaking a slump on the power play against Ottawa — the unit was 0 for its last 17 heading into the game against the Senators.

“It hasn’t been working for a while now and last night we got some good screens sometimes they find a way through,” Dennis Wideman said. “I think the second one went through four guys and found its way in. We haven’t been getting that the last couple weeks.”

On each of the four power-play goals, the Capitals had traffic in front, their passes were crisp, forceful and fueled movement for the duration of the advantage. By the end of the game, Washington took 13 shots over the course of its seven minutes of power-play time.

“We did some right things, though. We shot the puck. We didn’t look to be too cute. We shot the puck,” Brooks Laich said. “Dennis had an exceptional game on the back end not getting shots blocked, getting them through and then we’ve got Mike in the slot screening and then myself around the net, too.”

The hope with any strong power play is that it handcuffs an opponent into not wanting to take penalties, and subsequently gives the Capitals more space at even strength. If Washington can make power-play contributions a nightly factor, it can return that advantage to its repertoire.

“There’s a lot to our game; there’s so many dimensions we can bring,” Troy Brouwer said. “With the power play going again — hopefully it’s not a one-game thing — hopefully that just makes teams a little more scared of us. If we’re scoring on the power play they’re going to be scared to play tough, play hard, and that just gives more room five on five.”

By  |  12:47 PM ET, 12/11/2011

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