Opponents shadowing Ovi on power play

Opponents shadowing Ovi on power play
November 26, 2013, 4:45 pm
Share This Post

Caps top 5 plays of the week: 11.25.13

When the Capitals were humming along with the NHL’s best power play percentage through the first 17 games [26.7 percent], head coach Adam Oates knew it was only a matter of time before opposing teams started finding ways to stop it.

On Nov. 10 in Colorado, the Avalanche decided that if the Caps were going to beat them on the power play, they’d have to have someone other than Alex Ovechkin do it. And so the Avs shadowed Ovechkin and held the Caps 0-for-4 on the man-advantage.

Including that game, the Caps have gone 2-for-23 on the power play over their past seven games.

Defenseman John Carlson, who has replaced Mike Green at the point on the Caps’ No. 1 power-play unit, has one of those goals. Ovechkin has the other.

[RELATED: Teammates stand behind Erat's trade request]

“We need the other guys to score goals,” Oates sad Tuesday. “That’s what I told them from Day One. I need the diamond guy [Troy Brouwer on the first unit and Joel Ward on the second] to score. I need the point shot [Carlson or Green], I need the goal line guy [Marcus Johansson or Mikhail Grabovski]. We need everybody to score so they can’t take [Ovechkin] away. When we do, it’ll open up more offense.”

Ovechkin has been a scoring machine since opening night, leading the NHL with 20 goals in 22 games. Eight of Ovechkin’s goals this season have come on the power play.

He said when teams shadow him in the left wing circle, his job is to kick the puck back to the point.

“You can see how tight they play against me on the power play,” Ovechkin said. “It’s good for different players on our team, good for Carly and Greenie to shoot the puck. I’m going to be covered but someone else can score. When we’re 5-on-4 we have to score from the blue line. If they cover me they’re going to be open and they just have to score.”

On Saturday night in Toronto, the Capitals generated a season-high 101 attempts at the net. A season-high 50 of those reached the net, including a team-high seven off the stick of Carlson.

But 28 of those shots were blocked and 23 more missed the mark, which led Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer to say he didn’t feel overworked against the Caps because he had a clear view of most of those shots

[RELATED: Adam Oates understand Marty Erat's predicament]

Oates said he’d like to see more traffic in front of opposing goalies but indicated the Caps don’t have many of those type players.

“We also have to understand who our personnel is sometimes,” Oates said. “It’s not an easy position to stand there. It’s not. Point shots are hard. It’s a risky position. You don’t want to lose a guy [to injury] because of that, but in saying that, yeah, there are times we want traffic. There’s a [safe] way to do traffic.”

Oates indicated that although Green is healthy enough to play the point on the first unit, he’ll stick with Carlson, who has directed the power play from the point for the past five games.

“It’s been Greenie’s spot and when he gets hurt Carly’s been able to take those minutes and responsibilities,” Oates said. “He makes the reads, he can handle the responsibility, and he’s got a heavy, very accurate shot.”