Even Marcus can score on the power play! (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
The Capitals are not particularly strong at even strength. They rank in the bottom five in puck possession when the score is close. But you take a dude or two off the ice from either team and— well, look out.
As of Wednesday morning, the Capitals have the #1 power play and the #1 penalty kill in the league.
The Capitals have not allowed a goal in 91.5% of their penalties. That includes a streak of 35 consecutive kills snapped on Saturday (thanks, Flash).
And after their four powerplay goals against the Islanders on Tuesday, the Caps are now also the best powerplay team in the league— converting on 27.9% of their chances. Alex Ovechkin has scored 6 of his 12 goals while up a man.
Those percentages are compelling, but they don’t tell you the whole story.
They Caps aren’t just getting lucky on the man-advantage; they’re burying goalies in pucks. Washington is second in the league in shot attempts while on the power play. (San Jose must be cheating.) That suggests that the Caps’ 5v4 success will continue.
The Caps aren’t quite as strict when it comes to limiting shots when they’re on the kill. They rank 23rd out of 30 in shot attempts against on the PK, but thanks to the combined .970 penalty-kill save percentage from Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth, few of those shots are hitting the net. The Caps defense will have to bear down a bit if they want to continue dominating the PK.
For now, it feels good to be on top.