F Street Faithful
by Matthew Tate on 09/15/13 at 08:53 AM ET
The Washington Capitals opened up their preseason schedule last night with a 4-3 shootout victory against the Winnipeg Jets. It might have been played on an Olympic-sized rink with a lot of rookies, but it's still our first chance to see our boys play in 4 months.
Washington Goals: Hillen (1), Galiev (1), Brouwer, PP (1)
Winnipeg Goals: Kane (1), Kosmachuk (1), Kane (2)
A scary moment early on as Alexander Ovechkin was basically force-fed the stick of Winnipeg rookie Ben Chiarot on a dump-in follow through. A bloody Ovechkin went back to the dressing room, but returned to the ice before the 4-minute power play expired. No serious damage, but still not something you want to see in a preseason game.
Braden Holtby started the game, giving up 2 goals in his time. On the first goal, he was screened by practically everybody on the ice. Not much he could do with that one. The second (wrap-around) was the result of the shallow nets being tested. Nets that the Caps do not even have in their practice facility. He did have a typical Holtby moment, playing the puck directly into the hands the Jets. A goal was not produced, but he has to stop tape-to-tape passes to the opposition when roaming.
Holtby would be replaced by Philipp Grubaugher midway through second period. Grubaugher looked as good as advertised, giving up a lone goal to Evander Kane and stopping all 4 shootout attempts. The lone goal came after the Caps failed to clear the zone and basically stood around staring at one another. Yes, it's preseason, but it's still a sign of the depth the Caps continue to have depth in the crease. Depth that I still contend will be used to fill some holes in the team (read: blueline) at some point this season.
Evander Kane had to have been sad seeing the Jets leave the Southeast division. He has been a certified Cap killer in his short career, and it continued tonight with a pair of goals. I say good riddance.
The NHL really needs to rethink the AHL eligibility issue for Junior players. It doesn't make a lot of sense that Tom Wilson is allowed to play in the NHL, but not the AHL. Adam Oates is of the opinion, and I tend to agree, that it will only hurt Wilson to return to Juniors. Unfortunately, he will probably still find his way back to Plymouth as the Caps don't really have space for him. I have to wonder if the Caps regret re-signing Volpatti now. In general, the rookies played well, specifically Galiev (Goal), Wilson, Stevenson, and Grubaugher.
The one main critique would have to be the power play. Once again, they just seemed to overpass looking for that sure-fire shot. A 4-minute power play went by the wayside in the first and a 2-minute 4-on-3 was passed to death in OT. The latter was specifically painful as a Jet was without a stick for a a good portion. They did manage to convert on one of the other chances as Troy Brouwer was left wide open in the slot for a one timer.
Again, it's only preseason, but it's good to see the boys play again. The Capitals will head to Philadelphia for preseason game 2 on Monday. Unfortunately, this is not one of the 6 preseason games televised.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.