Both before and after the untimely penalty by Nate Schmidt that led to Shane Doan’s game-tying goal late in regulation, the Washington Capitals had opportunities to take firm control of their matchup against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night in the desert.
There was ample time for the Capitals to build on their two-goal lead but they came up empty both times, the first coming 1 minute 38 seconds into the third period on a five-on-four power play, then again moments later with a two-man advantage. A goal in either situation would have changed the tenor of the contest, which at that point featured a desperate Coyotes squad looking for any type of offense it could muster.
Then as regulation expired, Zbynek Michalek was whistled for delay of game after smothering the puck, giving the league’s best power play a full two minutes to work with in overtime. The Capitals recorded only two shots on goal during that span and ultimately went on to fall 4-3 in a shootout to the Coyotes.
“We had a couple chances. We had a 5-on-3 and a 4-on-3 to get an insurance goal or the winner and we didn’t get it done,” said Coach Adam Oates, who expanded briefly on the challenges of situations other than the traditional five-on-four power play.
“There’s a lot of little things that go into it: speed, decisions, getting set up, missing a shot, missing a pass,” Oates said. “We had a couple chances but not enough.”
The Capitals have the top ranked power play at 28.2 percent, but through 17 games they’ve yet to score a single goal on a man-advantage that isn’t a 5-on-4 situation and Saturday night that trend cost them a second point in Phoenix.
More to come on the Capitals’ special teams play, including their lack of success in those other situations in five thoughts Sunday.