The Washington Capitals dressed a prospect-heavy lineup against the New Jersey Devils as they pursued their first win of the preseason. However, they fell short, and a couple of costly penalties led to a 4-1 victory for New Jersey. Washington is now 0-3-1 in the presason so far.
Here are some takeaways from Monday’s action, which featured some of the good, some of the bad and some of the ugly.
- Martin Fehervary left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return. It’s unclear what the nature of the injury is at the moment, but if it’s severe, it’s not a good sign for the Capitals. Fehervary is among those with a strong chance to make the NHL jump this season. However, this does leave a vacancy open, and the Capitals have several options to consider, especially with Trevor van Riemsdyk ready to play on the left side and LHD like Matt Irwin, Alex Alexeyev and Tobias Geisser still in the mix.
- Connor McMichael can shoot the puck and had a stellar game as he continues to prove he belongs in the NHL. He struck on the power play, unleashing a laser beam right under the bar get the Capitals going. He finished the night with a team-leading shots and five faceoff wins on 11 attempts.
- Hendrix Lapierre picked up the secondary assist on McMichael’s PPG. That’s five assists in three games, and in my opinion, signs point to him starting the season up wtih Washington. Beyond that, he conitnued to display speed and strong playmaking prowess. However, he wasn’t the best in the face-off circle, winning just two of seven draws and needs to continue to improve on his draws.
- Daniel Sprong played with a lot of jump in his step. He generated several high-danger chances, skated well at both ends and utilized his speed to get pucks on net. He was tied with McMichael for the most shots on goal (3).
- The Beck Malenstyn-Michael Sgarbossa-Brian Pinho line was impressive. The trio generated a lot with physicality and grit and dialed up the pressure at times.
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- Speaking of Malenstyn, he had a good showing. He played with good awareness at both ends and saved a near tap-in for the Devils. The 24-year-old also played with grit and physicality and delivered a huge hit late, doing what he could to shift the momentum. He ended the night with a team-leading five hits while picking up a takeaway, a giveaway and two blocks.
- Also on the topic of the fourth line: Sgarbossa led all forwards in TOI with 17:12 minutes. He also helped create a lot of opportunities and won five faceoffs, but also lost eight.
- Van Riemsdyk looked solid and also got to wear the “A” for the Capitals on Monday. He bailed Washington out from time to time and hustled on the backcheck, while jumping up in the rush and helping generate a few scoring chances. TVR also led the team with three blocks and ranked second in TOI (23:20), but did take two penalties.
- Also, Irwin played a strong game and showcased a lot of effort on the backcheck. He even made an incredible diving play to deny Tomas Tatar a clear-cut breakaway chance and reclaim possession.
- Alexeyev came up with a couple of big plays but didn’t set himself apart as much as he could have. Geisser logged the least amount of ice time (18:07) among defensemen (besides Fehervary, who was injured).
- Vitek Vanecek looked strong in goal, despite the result. He gave the Capitals a chance to win and bailed them out on quite a few occasions, including a handful of 2-on-1 rushes and semi-breakaway chances. He finished the night with 22 saves on 25 shots (.880 save percentage).
Washington is off tomorrow and will return to the ice for practice on Wednesday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.