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Takeaways: Strome, Capitals Overcome Fumbles, Win Final Dress Rehearsal

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Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In their final dress rehearsal before the regular season with what should be close to their opening night lineup, the Washington Capitals saw quite a few fumbles to start. However, a beautiful OT winner from Dylan Strome erased a tough start and capped off a great rally.

Ultimately, goals from Anthony Mantha, Alex Ovechkin, Nic Dowd and Strome led to a 4-3 overtime win that saw Washington overcome several mishaps. The team finished the preseason 4-1-1.

“Yeah I think you know maybe didn’t have our absolute best tonight, but I thought we found a way to get it done and hung in there,” Strome said, adding, “Lots to build on, lots to look forward to for Wednesday.”

Here are all the takeaways from the victory live from Capital One Arena:

Ovechkin, Regulars Get On Board, Washington Capitals Rally

The Capitals got goals from their regulars, who stepped up to keep Washington in the game. Anthony Mantha opened the scoring on a tip on a Martin Fehervary point shot. And although he didn’t get a helper, Dylan Strome perhaps impressed the most on that play. The goal was Mantha’s second of the preseason and shows promise for No. 39 to do more damage in a year where he should be 100 percent healthy.

Alex Ovechkin then got the power play going, though it took quite a few tries. There were several missed chances, as Ovechkin missed a few wide-open opportunities and fell on one of them. However, the Great 8 got on the board with a nice PPG to close out the second and even the score.

And then, trailing in the second, Garnet Hathaway and the fourth line got to work. Nick Jensen moved the play nicely up ice to Hathaway, who moved the puck up to Nic Dowd. Dowd then fired a quick shot that squeaked past Elvis Merzlikins and made it 3-3.

Ultimately, the team was able to tilt the ice in the second half of the game after being outshot early on. The Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Brown and the Protas-Strome-Mantha combinations did a solid job to boot. The Snively-Dowd-Hathaway line was also noticeable.

But in the end, the Strome-Brown connection won the game as Strome scored on a great pass from former Erie Otters teammate Connor Brown.

Washington Capitals Come Back From Weak Coverage, Defensive Struggles

The Capitals’ blue line had been solid going into the final game against Columbus, limiting scoring chances against and seeing Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren come in clutch. However, things appeared to fall apart a bit against the Blue Jackets.

Kuemper was hung out to dry on quite a few strikes, as all of the goals against saw him face snipes from point-blank range courtesy of Patrik Laine, Yegor Chinakhov and Sean Kuraly. Those early fumbles led to three goals and two different leads for Columbus in the first half of the game.

The Fehervary-John Carlson pairing struggled a bit, miscommunicating and misreading a few of those goals and allowing too much time and space for the opposition. Fehervary and Carlson were on the ice for all three goals against, including on the PK.

Ultimately, the team was able to recover and rally. However, a rough start is something that will likely be addressed, especially if Dmitry Orlov (day-to-day) misses more time.

Kuemper ended up keeping the Capitals in it, though. He stopped 36 of 39 shots against (.923 save percentage) and didn’t give up much, and there wasn’t much chance for him on some of those goals against.

Young Guys Get Last Chance

It was a final showing for some of the young guns, and they did what they could to impress in limited ice time. Aliaksei Protas had some good looks and did a good job drawing a penalty and generating some chances on the top 6 as he looks to win a roster spot. He also continues to impress with his size and reach and battled quite a bit to generate pressure in the O-zone.

Joe Snively also got his final look in game action and got a challenge working with Dowd and Hathaway. He had a slow start, but toward the end of the game, he picked up the speed a bit and ended up generating a couple of scoring chances. However, he went without a shot and wasn’t the most noticeable at times.

As for Connor McMichael, it wasn’t the best final outing. He logged just and went 1-for-6 (17 percent) in the face-off dot and also wasn’t winning this battles, and he also struggled on the backcheck as well. The 21-year-old generated some speed and also had a shot, two takeaways and two blocks. Still, there was more noise to be made.

Why McMichael Is Under Pressure With Capitals Camp Winding Down

Washington Capitals Ice Chips:

  • Strome had a near perfect night in the face-off dot, going 10-for-11 (91 percent). He clearly has won that second-line center job. Brown also did solid, going 4-for-5 (80 percent). With his goal, he finished the preseason with four points in four games.
  • Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov tied for the team lead in shots (4).
  • Carlson finished with three assists.
  • Nick Jensen had a helper and has two points in his last two games (1G, 1A).
  • Speaking of defensemen, Fehervary finished the preseason with three assists, as did Kuznetsov.
  • The power play went 1-for-4, and the penalty kill went 3-for-4.
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Jonathan

I double checked on who was on the ice when the BJ’s scored, and Carlson and Fehervary were on the ice for the PK goal and the third goal where Kuraly scoots past Martin and scores off Carlson’s stick; but they weren’t the pair on the first goal. That was Johansen and TVR. TVR was down low in the offensive zone; Johansen pinched to the board in the neutral zone, trying to prevent the puck from leaving the offensive zone, which left McM as the long person back on a Laine sniper goal.

I want to see Carlson and Fehervary be the defensive pairing they are capable of being this season. We need them for that; especially in the playoffs.

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