Backing up Boudreau about the Capitals’ Peculiar Power Play

Earlier this week, we suggested that the Washington Capitals’ anemic power play this season might be a early reason for concern for the club. Not a concern that sharpshooters Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Caps’ special teams have lost their touch, but a concern that the club still haven’t found their confidence after converting only 1-of-33 chances in last seasons’ playoff series with the Montral Canadiens.

When questioned about this seasons’ early troubles, Bruce Boudreau mentioned that in his tenure behind the Capitals’ bench his teams started slow on the PP, and ramped it up through out the season. In an interview with Katie Carerra of the Washington Post’s Capitals Insider on Tuesday, he noted “for whatever reason, in October [the power play] hasn’t been solid, then it starts picking up in November and gets better once the familiarity [picks up].”

Since Boudreau was named interim coach of the Capitals on November 22, 2007, we only have two full seasons of numbers to examine:

October November December January
February March April
2008-09 7-44 (9) 13-56 (15) 11-56 (14) 11-57 (12) 15-62 (13) 8-46 (13) 4-23 (6) 69-337 (82)
15.9% 23.2% 19.7% 19.3% 24.2% 17.4% 17.4% 20.5%
2009-10 9-56 (13) 9-42 (14) 8-47 (13) 13-55 (15) 7-37 (7) 14-47 (14) 3-18 (6) 79-313 (82)
16.1% 21.4% 17.0% 23.6% 18.9% 29.8% 16.7% 25.2%
2010-11 2-17 (4) 2-17 (4)
11.8% 11.8%

Games played per month are listed in parenthesis.

Whether it’s the special teams unit finding their niche, increased focus in practice as the season progresses, more “live” practice on game day, or seeing the players have more conditioning under their belt, Bruce was right – the power play converts an average increase of 6.3% more opportunities in November, and never falls below it’s October output the remainder of the season.

So maybe I should heed my own advice, slow my roll as a panic-monger, and listen to David Getz’s reasoning: “[The Capitals' offense is] hard enough to stop with five men, much less four. The goals will come.”