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Capitals Takeaways

Sprong Has Sprung; Kuznetsov, Ovechkin Power Capitals 4-1 Win Over Devils



Capitals forward Daniel Sprong is training for 2021-22 in Sweden.

On the road against a hard-hitting New Jersey Devils team, the Washington Capitals fared just fine. A quick start, a complete 60 minutes and standout performances from Daniel Sprong, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vitek Vanecek powered the Capitals to a dominant 4-1 victory.

Washington is now 3-0-1 to start the 2021-22 campaign.

Here are all the takeaways from the action and lead the Metropolitan Division with seven points.

Sprong Has Sprung

Daniel Sprong has been showcasing great speed to start the season, and that paid off big time for Washington against the Devils right from the get-go. Just over four minutes in, he got a nice shot that ended in a goal for Anthony Mantha on the rebound. Later, he padded the Capitals lead with a breakaway tally after driving past the defense and putting himself on the breakaway before deking the puck past Scott Wedgewood.

The Netherlands native got his first two points of the season in the victory. He finished second on the team last season in even-strength goals (13) and led in shooting percentage (17.5).

So far, he’s been outstanding on the second line alongside Mantha and Lars Eller. He’s skating with confidence, moving the puck well and generating a number of high-quality chances. Now that he’s gotten on the scoresheet, expect him to take off from here.

Kuznetsov, Ovechkin Stay Red-Hot

It was another stand-out night for the Capitals stars. Kuznetsov and Ovechkin both picked up helpers on Dmitry Orlov’s goal. Ovechkin is now on a four-game point streak, and Kuznetsov added his third assist in two games. Later on, Kuznetsov drove to the net and fired the puck in to put Washington up 4-0 in the third, giving him his third multi-point performance of the season. Ovechkin net the secondary helper, giving him another multi-point game to boot.

READ MORE ON WHN: Classic Kuznetsov ‘Rekindled Joy For The Game,’ Reemerging for Capitals

With eight points, Kuznetsov and Ovechkin are now tied for the league lead in scoring, along with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Anze Kopitar.

Vanecek Comes Up Big Again

It was another strong showing for Vitek Vanecek between the pipes. The 25-year-old started the first two games of the season for the Capitals, putting on a show with a .938 save percentage. Ilya Samsonov started the last game against the Colorado avalanche, and Vanecek returned with a vengeance on Thursday.

He was in top form again against the Devils, moving quickly in the crease and coming up huge with multiple impressive stops with the glove. He’s been moving well in the crease and has also done a tremendous job when it comes to stopping shots from in tight.

The only goal against came on the power play. He ended up making 24 saves on 25 shots (.960 save percentage).

Mantha Finds The Net Again

Meanwhile, Mantha continues to build his confidence as he continues to find the scoresheet. It’d been a long time for the 26-year-old when he netted his first goal of the season on Tuesday against Colorado, and early in the first, he again struck on a rebound in front.

The 6-5 winger is going hard to the crease and using his size and ability to his advantage, and it’s paying off big time.

Sammi’s Ice Chips

  • Trevor van Riemsdyk picked up an assist and now has points in three of four games to open 2021-22. He’s also been tremendous working on his off side while skating with Justin Schultz.
  • Tom Wilson has points in three straight and has five points in four games so far.
  • Connor McMichael continues to look solid as he continues to showcase his speed. He had two shots in 11:60 and got a few good looks on net, and looked solid in puck battles. He won 50 percent of his faceoffs to boot.
  • Alex Ovechkin, Garnet Hathaway, Conor Sheary and Orlov all led with three shots on goal each.
  • Martin Fehervary was stellar. He led the Capitals with four hits and four blocks and was a force to be reckoned with.
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