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BALTIMORE HOCKEY CLASSIC QUICK HITS

For the second time in three years, the Washington Capitals took a short trip up I-95 to play a preseason game in Charm City.  This time around, it was the Boston Bruins paying a visit to the hockey-starved city.  Baltimore welcomed the Caps with open arms, even chucking a crab on the ice after a Washington goal.  Yet again the Capitals found themselves playing more than the mandated 60 minutes, going all the way to their 3rd consecutive shootout, this one going 7 skaters.  As was the case last time NHL hockey was played in Baltimore, the Capitals could not send them home with win, falling 3-2 in the shootout.

Washington Goals: Wilson (1), Wellman (1)

Boston Goals: Florek, Kelly

For the second game this preseason, it's the two young Ws who led the way: Wilson and Walker.  Walker picked up an errant Bruins pass to lead to the first goal, a backdoor tap-in for Wilson.  Walker's speed would give him a third period breakaway, only to be taken down for a penalty shot.  He would try to channel his inner Forsberg, but Svedberg would not be fooled.  A third W, Wellman, pitched in with a goal as well.

In a continuation from last season, the Capitals found themselves shorthanded more times than they would have liked, including 3 times in the first period.  Technically, they didn't give up a PP goal, although Chris Kelly's third period tying goal was just as Volpatti's skates were touching the ice.

As is the case in most preseason games, the goaltenders split the time tonight.  Holtby started the game, shutting out the Bruins in his 30 minutes in the crease.  Grubaugher had flashes, but I'm sure he would want the first goal back, as he failed to cover a puck in the crease as Florek and Robins poked it over his pad.  Absolutely nothing he could do on the Kelly one timer that flew right under the crossbar.  He also made a great poke check on Loui Eriksson in the shootout.

While he may not have a realistic shot at cracking the roster, Dane Byers did himself no favors early in the first period.  After Robins attempted a legal check on a Caps defender (possibly Schilling), Byers dropped his gloves and somewhat jumped Robins.  Robins did drop the gloves, but well after Byers, who earned a 2-minute instigator penalty.  Maybe he though Robins was running his teammate, I don't really know.  It was a legal hit (with minimal contact) and Byers has to control himself better.

Two years ago, both the Capitals and Predators complained about the sub-par ice quality in Baltimore.  It was noticeably rough tonight, though I think the glass was the bigger story.  With 4 minutes remaining in the second period, Ovechkin and a Bruin went into the corner, not even that forcibly.  The result was a broken pane of glass.  As this was not an easy fix for the arena, both teams were sent to the locker room for an early second intermission.  After the intermission, the teams played out the final 4 minutes of the second period (where both teams grabbed a goal) and promptly switched sides for the third.  Very unusual chain of events.

Alex Ovechkin deserves a bit of praise for his play in a meaningless preseason game.  His line may not have generated a lot of offensive chances, but he played some fantastic defense.  On more than one occasion, he was the first forward back.  His most noticeable moment came  near the end of a Caps PP when Bruin Chris Kelly got a shorthanded breakaway.  Despite having been on the ice for the full two minutes (in a preseason game), Ovechkin went full throttle back putting pressure on Kelly, whose shot was saved by Holtby.  He also added a goal in the shootout.

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About F Street Faithful

Welcome to the home of the F Street Faithful, run by Matthew Tate.  This is a go-to blog for all things related to the Washington Capitals.  The F Street Faithful is 5% news and 95% breaking down the news.

In the past I have written for several other sports blogs as well as the college newspaper while at  York College of Pennsylvania.  I am a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania but am based out of Southern Maryland. 

You can follow me on twitter @FStreetTate but I must warn that I do tweet about more than hockey. You can also e-mail me at any time at overtheboard@gmail.com.