Caps had zero power plays in Game 5

Brian Tinsman
May 20, 2018 - 9:52 pm
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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The Washington Capitals are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for power play goals (16) this postseason, despite having zero in Game 5. The primary reason why they had no goals is because they had zero power play opportunities, which is a bit unusual.

And it wasn't for lack of plays that could have been penalized.

Midway through the first period, Dmitry Orlov was pretty clearly tripped by Tampa's Steven Stamkos. Trips can be hard to judge, but it was the type of play that looks like a trip in real time, then looks like a trip in slow motion. See for yourself:

"In my opinion, yeah, it turned into a scoring chance," Caps coach Barry Trotz said after the game, confirming he thought it was a penalty but choosing his words carefully. "We had puck possession and I thought that was missed. 

"There was probably a few missed. We didn't get a power play the whole game. We had a lot of possession, a lot of second and third, and surely there was something out there that might have pulled [a power play>. But the officiating...it is what it is. You've got to play through it and we didn't do that early."

Coaches have to choose their words carefully or risk incurring fines from the league. But any time you say that something "is what it is," that means you don't think it's very good.

And Trotz knows the value of those power-play opportunities.

In addition to leading the NHL in postseason special teams goals, the Caps have also converted 28.6 percent of power play opportunities, which is among the best for playoff teams. To miss out on opportunities like that is certainly disappointing. 

But give the Caps credit--even if it did cost them dearly on the scoreboard and in terms of momentum, they were not willing to blame officiating for the loss. Netminder Braden Holtby embraced the blame at game's end.

"It’s not easy. It's just the way it was," Holtby told the media. "That’s the reason why that goal happened. I’m not putting the blame on anyone. I’m just explaining what happened.

"Bad breaks sometimes go your way. Just regroup and move forward. I think we did that in the first intermission and now we’re going to push forward in Game 6."

 

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