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Posted at 10:23 AM ET, 10/25/2011

Troy Brouwer is the key to the Caps’ power play

Washington's power play was 16th in the league (17.5 percent) last season. It was a significant dropoff from the previous two years, when the unit converted on more than one in four of its opportunities. This season, it looks like the Capitals have their power play back on track, and they have offseason acquisition Troy Brouwer to thank.

Sure, he has yet to register a power-play point through seven games, but at 6-foot-3, 213 pounds, Brouwer gives the Capitals the net presence that has been missing.

For example, on Mike Green's first power-play goal in the 7-1 win over previously unbeaten Detroit, we can see Brouwer (highlighted by red arrow) camped out right in front of the net:

Same with Green's second power-play goal of the night:

That's why Brouwer's power-play unit has converted on three of its four scoring chances, while the unit of Backstrom-Laich-Ovechkin-Semin-Green is only one for seven.

Improving the man advantage is nothing new for Brouwer. During his last two years in Chicago, the power-play unit saw more goals per 60 minutes (GF/60) and a better shooting percentage when he was on the ice than it did when he was off it.

SEASON Team GFON/60 GFOFF/60 Sh% On Sh% Off
2009-2010 CHI 7.4 6.5 13.2% 12.6%
2010-2011 CHI 9.1 8.2 17.4% 16.3%
2011-2012 WSH 16.9 5.6 42.9% 13.3%

If Brouwer continues to take up residence in the front of the net, Washington's power play will once again intimidate opposing teams just as it did a few short years ago.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg.

By Neil Greenberg  |  10:23 AM ET, 10/25/2011

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