Caps Turn on the Power

Resurgent power play leads to recent wins

The Caps exorcised the Devils' eight-game winning streak with a 5-2 win.  They didn't need holy water, just a trinity of power-play goals -- something that's pushed their three-game winning streak.

On the season, the Caps have the fourth-best power play, scoring one out of every four chances.  They're led, as anyone would guess, by Alex Ovechkin's 12 PPG, although center Nicklas Backstrom is right next to him in total points.

For the power play, January was a struggle; for the month they dropped to 18th best, far off their seasonal pace.

As the power play fell off, so did the wins.  The Caps lost five of the 12 games they played, including that disappointing three-game losing streak.

Over the last few games, though, the puck has found twine.  And just like that, they've found their mojo.

Three PPG in four chances and they beat the Devils.  Two in five -- go Ovie! -- and the Senators were seeking a bailout.  Even the villainous Red Wings went down once Alexander the Great hammered his PPG into the net.

They score, they win.  Easy formula, eh?

Going forward, there's no reason the Caps can't have an elite power play.  Their first line is deadly.

When they're humming along, AO, Mike Green and Backstrom form a strong puck-moving core.  Brooks Laich does the dirty work that gives others room to work.

If Michael Nylander can show a pulse as he did with his two goals against Jersey -- surprising a great number of Caps fans -- there's hope that the second line can hold its own (if only to give the first unit a breath or two before they skate back out.)

Either way, their opponents better be wary of drawing too many unnecessary penalties.  Just ask poor Scott Clemmensen about that.

Chris Needham used to write for Capitol Punishment before the match penalty.

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