Photo: Amanda Bowen (See more from Military Appreciation Night)
I’ve written about the Caps zone entries on the power play twice this season (here and here). One of the main takeaways from those stories is that Marcus Johansson is crucial to the Caps PP zone entries. Often, he’ll receive a pass in neutral from Nick Backstrom and then carry the puck into the zone along the wall.
Here’s an example that ends in a PP goal:
Another takeaway is that the second PP unit struggles with controlled zone entries. Here’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, the player most responsible for the puck on entry for the second PP unit, with an ill-advised pass to Joel Ward at the blue line.
In the Caps’ loss to the Wild on Thursday night, the lone goal for the good guys came on the PP. The catalyst for the goal was the Caps second PP unit entering the zone in a manner similar to one that has made the first PP unit so successful on zone entries.
Kuznetov receives a pass in the neutral zone and then finds newly-acquired Curtis Glencross streaking down the wing for a controlled zone entry, a la Johansson. The result is the Caps’ only goal in the game.
Time will tell if this play was improvisation by the second unit or a change in approach and execution with Glencross now in town. Regardless, it was an encouraging sight considering the struggles the second unit has had with zone entries.
Welcome to Washington, Curtis Glencross.
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