The Washington Capitals have lost three straight games. Their offense has been anemic lately. But one aspect of their game has become infamous this season: the once vaunted power play. After being one of the league’s top units since the Bruce Boudreau days, the squad is ranked 22nd in the NHL this season, converting less than 15 percent of the time. In response, Caps fans have incessantly mocked and or panicked about the man-advantage.
But head coach Barry Trotz has a solution: Jay Beagle. The center, 31, has never scored a regular-season power play goal in his nine year NHL career.
“We’ll give him a shot,” Trotz told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Monday before their game against the Buffalo Sabres. “Got nothing to lose.”
Trotz and his coaching staff are placing Beagle on the second unit, which has barely scored this season. The head coach said he wanted a right shot to play in front of the net, a role previously served by Brett Connolly.
“He’ll just play instinctively,” Trotz said of Beagle. “The puck’s going to end up in the blue paint at some point and that’s where he’s gotta be really good.”
Beagle’s only power play goal in the NHL came with 100 seconds in Game Three of last season’s first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, a game the Capitals won 6-1 and one which forever stained the light-up bracelet industry.
Beagle does have experience skating on the power play from his days with the Hershey Bears.
“It’s a good chance to try and play a different role,” Beagle said after the morning skate. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I was just talking with a couple of the guys on that unit about where I need to be and they’ve been helping me out. I’ve killed penalties my whole life.”
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