The Caps powerplay hasn’t been good this season. That’s not a particularly new development, as last season the team finished 12th in the league on the PP. While getting Evgeny Kuznetsov back certainly helps, the Caps’ issues while a man up have been less about the personnel and more about the tactics, particularly on zone entries.
In 2015, I tracked 10 games of Caps PP zone entries. At that time, the Caps had consistent success gaining the zone on controlled entries with one particular tactic. A defender (often John Carlson) would pass to the center (often Nick Backstrom) in stride at the defensive blue line. The center would then pass to the right-winger (often Marcus Johansson) streaking down the boards near the offensive blue line.
The Caps have gotten away from this type of puck movement through neutral on the PP, and it’s been a major drag on their zone-entry success. But against Dallas, they showed some signs of better puck movement through the neutral zone, and while it didn’t result in a goal, it did result in more zone time. They should keep it up.