PowerlessPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Last season, the Washington Capitals netted 46 power play goals in 263 power play opportunities. The Caps clicked at a 17.5% rate with the extra man, tied for 15th in the NHL. That 2010-11 total of 263 power play chances is the fewest in a full season in the Capitals’ franchise history. The total of 46 power play goals was the third fewest Washington has mustered in a span of 31 full seasons. Don’t look now, but unless the Caps manage to get seven power play goals and 42 power play opportunities in their final nine games, they’ll have fewer power play goals and extra-man opportunities this season than they did in the fallow campaign of 2010-11. In 38 of their 73 games to date, Washington has had two or fewer power play chances. The Caps had 29 games with two or fewer power play chances last season and 19 such games in 2009-10. Heading into tonight’s NHL action, the Caps’ total of 221 power play opportunities this season ranks 27th in the NHL. Only Colorado (204), Dallas (215) and the New York Islanders (220) have had fewer power plays. The Caps have been shorthanded 247 times themselves this season. Eleven teams have been shorthanded more than Washington has thus far. What is perhaps most interesting is this: the Caps have again been shorthanded more frequently than they’ve been on the power play. And barring a seismic change in the last nine games (not gonna happen), this will be the 15th straight season in which Washington will finish the campaign with more times shorthanded than on the power play. The last time that ratio went in the other direction was in 1995-96 when Washington enjoyed 403 power play chances to 385 times shorthanded. That’s crazy. What’s even more crazy is that Washington actually had more power play chances than shorthanded situations in each of the first 19 seasons of its existence, from 1974-75 through 1992-93, inclusive. Are the Caps are now embroiled in the lengthy process of paying back nearly two decades worth of extra-man largesse? If so, only four more seasons to go.
Tonight’s game against the Flyers in Philly finishes off Washington’s season-long five-game road swing. It’s also the rubber match of the set; the Caps are 2-2 in the four games to date. Washington had three goaltenders on the ice at Thursday’s optional morning skate. Tomas Vokoun is still ailing