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The Greyhound

Capitals take three of last five as team looks to heat up


October 26: Canucks 6, Capitals 2

The Caps started a three-game road trip with an ugly 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Washington did not put up much of a fight in this game, as the Canucks led 3-0 at the first intermission and 5-0 towards the end of the third period.

Vancouver scored their first goal at the 12:52 mark in the first period when saveable puck ended up finding the back of the net. That play reflected the rest of goaltender Braden Hotlby’s night. The net minder allowed 5 goals on 22 shots. Phillip Grubauer took over in net with 5 minutes left in the second and finished with 7 saves and 1 goal allowed.

Washington’s goals came too little and too late. Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov scored shortly after Hotlby was benched. Forward Chandler Stephenson scored his first career goal with two minutes left in the game, making the final score 6-2.

Defenseman Matt Niskanen (upper-body) and left wing Andre Burakovsky (thumb) continue to sit out with injuries. Right wing Brett Connolly also left the game with an upper-body injury in the second period. This is yet another instance in which Washington’s young players struggled without the support of the likes of leaders such as Niskanen, Backstrom and an offensively absent Ovechkin.

October 28: Capitals 5, Oilers 2

Just when it seemed as if the Capitals were in the midst of an early-season slump losing 4 out of the last 5, they rebounded and dominated a dangerous Edmonton Oilers team who is projected to make a deep playoff run this year.

After a slow start that allowed Edmonton to steal two early goals, Washington stormed back and scored the last five of the game, including two from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Other new faces found themselves in the scoring column, as right wing Devante Smith-Pelley, center Lars Eller, and center Jay Beagle all scored their first goals of the season. Ovechkin had three assists and Hotlby looked sharp in net with 38 saves.

These are the kinds of performances needed from Washington’s supporting players. Expect Kuznetsov to have more freedom in the offense and Ovechkin to be more of a facilitator as we saw on this night. It is a fresh change to what has been a stale offensive attack at times.

October 29: Flames 2, Capitals 1

Washington lost the final game of a three-game road trip to Calgary on Sunday night. The Caps tied the game at one apiece in the third period, only to give up a goal several minutes later to Sean Monahan.

Left wing Jakub Vrana scored the lone goal of the night for the Caps. Grubauer got the start at goalie and finished with 36 saves.

It appears that the Canadian road trip, coupled with back-to-back games got the best of the Caps. The club looked fatigued and were often stagnant on offense, but the strong play of the defensive unit and Philip Grubauer kept them in the game.

November 2: Capitals 4, Islanders 3

Washington got a much-needed home victory over the NY Islanders on Thursday, keeping themselves afloat at .500.

The story of the night was undoubtedly the play of Danish center Lars Eller. There was never a dull moment with Eller on the ice, as he tallied two goals and added an assist while drawing two big penalties.

Eller assisted on a goal from defenseman Taylor Chorney, his first goal of the season. Right wing Alex Chiasson also scored his first, with defenseman John Carlson and center Jay Beagle assisting.

The Caps were outshot in the game, but Braden Hotlby had great outing, finishing with 38 saves and bailing out his defense several times.

Eller looked great in this game. If he and Kuznetsov continue to produce, Washington has found some secret weapons.

November 4: Capitals 3, Bruins 2

The Caps continued a trend of recent victories against the Boston Bruins, picking up a big road win on Saturday night in TD Garden.

Washington took an early 2-0 lead in the first period with goals from right wing Tom Wilson (his first) and Ovechkin (11). They later took a 3-1 lead with another goal from Wilson, but Boston would not go away quietly. A quick powerplay goal from Boston in the third period made the score 3-2, but Braden Hotlby put up a wall after that point. He finished with 31 saves.

This is a strong road win against a strong opponent. Washington had more penalties than they should be comfortable with, including three in the third period that kept Boston within striking distance. These penalties tend to become less frequent as the season progresses.

Washington sits at above .500 with a record of 7-6-1, good for 5th in the Metropolitan division. They travel back home to play the Coyotes on Monday.

*Photo courtesy of Benjamin Sumner via*

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Capitals take three of last five as team looks to heat up