The source of the Capitals’ power-play woes

Sometimes the chances are there on the power play, but there are other times when the Capitals can’t maintain possession in the offensive zone or simply struggle getting the puck across the blue line. They also are not generating as many chances off rebounds as they have in years past, which could be an indication that there is not enough traffic in front of the net. 

SeasonPP OppRebounds per PP OppSh%

Not only are they generating less rebounds, but they are converting on them at about one-fourth the league average and barely higher than what we would expect any shot on the power play to light the lamp. That means fewer “dirty goals,” those goals that come from near the crease off deflections and tip-ins.

Plus, those shots around the crease are being attempted at half the rate they were when the Capitals had the best power-play unit in the league back in 2009-10 (25.6 percent). The biggest change seems to have come from Brooks Laich, who appears to have just stopped making those attempts. 

It may not take much to get this power play back on track. A goal or two could make a huge difference in boosting the struggling unit. But it all starts with putting pucks on net with traffic in front.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg

More from Post Sports:
Despite ugly loss, Caps still in playoff race
On Hockey: Are Caps buyers or sellers?
Ovechkin leaves ice early in Ottawa

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.


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