Special Teams Spotlight: Capital Shift Part 2

I haven't had the time to do a Special Teams Spotlight in a few weeks, but I wanted to quickly post this recent 5-on-3 the Washington Capitals used to tie the game against the San Jose Sharks. The two man advantage is something the Caps have struggled with over the last couple of seasons because the stationary 1-3-1 the team uses at 5-on-4 isn't quite effective enough with the extra room available once the opposition takes that second penalty.

Here, however, it appears they have developed a plan that works. The Caps players rotate constantly, but notice how it's not aimless rotation. Virtually every time a player rotates positions here, it opens up lanes for one-timers. And because essentially all of the lefties are on the right and vice versa, it creates constant threats for goals. Eventually, the opposition wares down and there will be lanes open. Nicklas Backstrom, one of the best passers in the league, finds that here and T.J. Oshie capitalizes.


I've written before about creativity within a structure and rotation within a structure, and those concepts are both on full display here. For so many other teams, Oshie would have been a lefty in that position, and the play never would have worked. Handedness matters a lot on the power play, and this is exhibit B.