Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Early Power Outage No Cause For Concern...Yet

The "new look" Caps power play looked pretty good against Atlanta Friday night, despite finishing just 1-for-7 (14%). It looked a little worse on Saturday night against the 'Canes, but finished with a better success rate at 33% (1-for-3).

On Monday, however, it looked downright awful against the Isles, and failed to connect in any of the six opportunities the Caps had with the extra man, firing only one shot on goal in 8:45 of powerplay time. Included in that was 1:23 of 5-on-3 time during which the team didn't register a single shot on goal (the Caps are now 0-for-3 in 3:07 of ice-time with a two-man advantage in the young season, and have only two shots on goal), and the top unit of Alex Ovechkin, Viktor Kozlov, Chris Clark, Tom Poti and Mike Green has yet to light the lamp with the man advantage.

Here's a look at the shots on goal per minute of power play time through three games:
  • 1.093 (@ Atlanta)
  • 0.588 (vs. Carolina)
  • 0.114 (@ N.Y. Islanders)
For the three games total, that number is 0.624 and the power play has clicked 12.5% of the time, meaning that they're scoring on approximately one of every nine power plays and getting a little more than one shot on goal per full two-minute advantage.

Of course, given the incredibly small sample size from which these numbers are taken, the absence of the team's second-best goal-scorer in two of the three games so far, the three games in less than four days, and the lack of experience playing together for most of the key players, I certainly wouldn't push the panic button quite yet. In fact, five teams are still looking for their first power play goals of the season, so perhaps we can chalk up some of these early-season struggles to lingering summer rust that is spread pretty much League-wide.

Nevertheless, it's something to watch, and, if this inefficiency continues, it probably won't be long before you see Michael Nylander on the top power play unit to try to get that group going. After all, that's part of the reason he was brought to D.C., no?


Big M said...

Playing arm-chair PP QB for a sec... I'd like the Caps to use the same strategy they used during Peter Bondra's heyday: Traffic in front. Ovie at the top of the circle firing one-timers from Poti.

Two much "fancy dan" passing so far this season. Poti to Ovie. Shot.

Maybe Bondra was more accurate, though.

ted said...

Big M:

I tend to agree with your assesment. Back in those days the Caps had Gonchar who could move the puck and blast away. He was also good at sneaking into the slot and getting the one-timer.

I am not sure that Poti has been the PP QB as advertised yet. It seems that most of the passing thus far comes from Kozlov to Ovie, and Ovie dangles then either shoots or cycles. Unfortunatley, this doesn't give Ovie much room to get open for a one timer or wrister.

Maybe they'll get the kinks out this weekend.