The Big Picture
Not much has changed for the Capitals in the last week. They have taken the ice twice in Western Canada, they got slammed by the Edmonton McDavid’s Oilers and survived a shootout in Calgary. Since this is the big picture we need to talk about the Pittsburgh Penguins. In this early season they are a wrecking ball of scoring, the Pens put up a jaw dropping nine goals on the same Flames that the Caps needed the shootout to put away. They currently lead the Metro division by two points.
Caps STILL can’t play defense, let’s look at one of the big reasons why. Tom Wilson’s 20 game suspension for a pre-season illegal hit on Oskar Sundqvist of the St. Louis Blues was upheld by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. While Wilson was clearly in the wrong, the length of the suspension is questionable as Austin Watson of the Nashville Predators was recently suspended for 18 games for domestic abuse. Wilson has filed a hearing with NHL’s neutral arbitrator that is set for Halloween (tomorrow) hopefully the result is in his favor, we need him on defense.
The Last Week
L @ EDM 4-1 (10/25)
What goes up must come down with this team. After a complete outing versus the Canucks three days prior, the Caps came crashing down to earth in Edmonton. Despite the four Oilers goals in this one, Braden Holtby actually played a very good game. The quality of Edmonton chances in this one was simply unacceptable. Far too often Braden was put in a bad situation with no way out. Penalties in this one were not on Washington’s side. The Oilers had four power plays in this one only putting in one, the Caps also had a goal scored on their power plays…by the other team. That’s right, we gave up a short hand goal.
While Andre Burakovsky scored his first goal of the season last night, Alex Chiasson stole the show with a goal against his former club as well as a screen set that led to another goal. Ovi also presented the former Caps 4th liner with his overdue Stanley Cup ring before the game as well. Without Chiasson, the bottom six of the Caps has been performing well, but Chiasson will always be a part of the Stanley Cup Caps.
SOW @ CAL 4-3 (10/27)
Todd Rierden was clearly not happy with the Capitals flop in Edmonton, because he really switched it up for the Flames. Jakub Varna was bumped up to the first line along with Ovi and Kuzy and quickly proved his metal with a goal assisted by Kuzy. We can assume that Tom Wilson will take that the wing spot back once he returns from his suspension, but until then Varna could prove to work. Meanwhile on the changed up second line TJ Oshie buried a rebound to put the Caps up 2-0. Unfortunately, because the Caps can’t have nice things, the Flames would score twice before the period ended tying the game up at 2 after the first. Matt Niskanen would score in the second with the slap shot from the point, the Flames would strike back in the 3rd to force overtime. Nothing happen in overtime, and Caps would win 2-1 in the shootout.
The new lines did just fine for the Caps against a very solid Calgrey team. The new first line was out to play as with a +2 rating and four combined points between Kuzy, Ovi, and Varna. The caps also decided to give Madison Bowey a shot paired with Brooks Orpik, he didn’t play much but had a decent game given his ice time. Phoenix Copley earned his first career NHL win in goal with 27 saves on 30 shots.