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Before the series between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers began, we took a look at the special teams of both squads. Since then, three games have been played; three Capitals wins have been tallied; eight goals have been scored on the power play by the Caps, none for Philly. To say the power play has been just a factor in the series is underselling it.
In that pre-series write-up, we identified a triangle plus one formation for the Flyers’ penalty kill, a penalty kill that relies on getting in lanes to disrupt shots instead of putting pressure on the player holding the puck. They have been torched.
On the other end of the special teams battle, the Flyers PP came in as a quality foe for the Caps formidable PK unit. The Caps PK has shut the Flyers PP down.
The biggest reason has been adjustments. The Capitals haven’t had to make many, and the Flyers seem averse to doing so, despite poor outcomes.
The passive penalty kill of the Flyers allows point shots from John Carlson. If he is getting them through as he does here, it spells trouble for the Flyers as they also have no one helping at the net front.
Again, the passive penalty kills allows Carlson to find a lane to shoot the puck from up top. The unmolested Capitals (TJ Oshie and Marcus Johansson) in front provide the traffic to screen goaltender Steve Mason.
Carlson has an easy shot from point with an unmolested Johansson in front for the bank. While the second GIF is a 4-on-3, the same principles apply. Carlson has an easy shot from the point, and Justin Williams is the closest player to Mason by five feet. Mason had no chance. On the Ovi goal, they are still passive (to be fair this was after about three minutes of zone time) with zero help given to Nick Schultz. Finally, the Flyers have the fourth PP grouping for the Washington Capitals and the half-wall distributing genius of Daniel Winnik paired with the slot shot of Jay Beagle to deal with. They still cannot get a stick or body on Beagle to disrupt his net front prominence. They left him alone. He scored.
We are not usually in the business of giving tips to Capitals opponents, but an exception will be made in this case. Stay passive. Leave the net-front presence of the Capitals be. They are no threat. And please…PLEASE keep taking penalties. Those few adjustments are a sure-fire way to be playing 18 at Merion come next Monday.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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