Photo: Geoff Burke
For the last few years, when you think of Alex Ovechkin, or even the Capitals, you are drawn to their savage power play. Since Adam Oates took over, it has been at the top of the league, ranked first in last season, second in 2013-14, and first in the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season. Ovechkin is the heavy artillery. Last season, Alex Ovechkin accounted for 42 percent of the Washington Capitals’ power play goals. From 2012-14 seasons, Ovi was responsible for nearly four tenths of the man advantage tallies. Year after year, he fired shot after shot from the same spot. There was little change in the result: a whole bunch of goals.
This year, however, something has been different. Through 20 games this season, Ovechkin had just one power play marker. The numbers tell a pretty clear story: Ovechkin just isn’t getting as many shots attempts on the man advantage.
But Friday night, Ovechkin was peppering Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilvskiy on Washington’s first power play. His first five shots went wide or were saved. His sixth attempt in under two minutes hit the back of the net, set up by a brilliant pass from Jason Chimera. It marked Ovechkin’s third power play goal of the season.
“You just got to get it in those guy’s hands and good things happen,” Chimera said. It was a great shot. I made the pass to him, but he made it all happen.”
Two day earlier, Ovechkin tallied another power play goal, when he recovered an errant pass by John Carlson and kicked it on to his skate blade before firing a puck top shelf on Michael Hutchinson.
Coming into the game, head coach Barry Trotz said he was making some minor adjustments to the Capitals power play, which converted on 75 percent of its chances against the Bolts.
“Well, [we were] three for four,” Trotz said when asked if the changes, like Chimera’s increased role, were successful. “Yes. … Our power play’s been inching its way up.”
Those changes worked for Ovechkin, who has now tripled his number of power play goals in just two games.
“We change different options all the time,” Ovechkin said. “I just try to be open.”
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