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Christian Djoos clearly left an impression on his teammates and coach in his debut

Christian Djoos clearly left an impression on his teammates and coach in his debut

Through three games, all the Capitals were getting out of their third defensive pair was penalties and goals for the opposition. On Wednesday, they got a lot more with the insertion of Christian Djoos.

After an open competition in training camp, head coach Barry Trotz elected to start the season with a third pair composed of Aaron Ness and Taylor Chorney. The results were not encouraging forcing Trotz to make one tweak to the lineup for Wednesday's game. He inserted rookie Christian Djoos. In his NHL debut, Djoos would go on to score the Capitals' first goal and assist on the second. His play certainly seemed to catch the notice of his teammates.

"Obviously, it's his first game and it's fun to see him out there," Nicklas Backstrom said. "He's so skilled with the puck. He's got a high hockey IQ so it was nice to see him."

"It's obviously a tough team to step into for your first game," Brooks Orpik said. "I think you can just watch his composure with the puck. he's really calm with the puck, he doesn't panic."

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Trotz was also effusive in his praise even as he tried to tamp down the expectations.

"We know that he's a good hockey player," Trotz said. "He's going to have to continue to get stronger and continue to play at this level. YOu can see the instincts are really good, he's got a real good sense for the game. His IQ's really good. But it's a process. It's one game and we'll be patient for sure. But his first game was real good." 

Trotz's confidence in the rookie was evident in the third period. Heading into the final frame, Djoos had played only 6:59. That total almost doubled in the third with eight shifts for another 6:20, bringing his total up to 13:20. Ness, by comparison, played 94 seconds in the second period and finished with only 8:21 of ice time.

When asked about Djoos' playing time, Trotz said, "We were chasing a little bit. When they're trying to get matchups I think the first game [Todd Reirden] was probably avoiding maybe a Sidney Crosby, [Evgeni Malkin] matchup for him his first game. As the game went on and we started chasing it, you've got to sort of say what the heck? We've got to get some goals here and that's what he does. He can jump in the plays."

As impressive as he was offensively, Djoos still needs work defensively. One game does not erase the fact that he is undersized at  6-foot, 169 pounds, nor does it suddenly turn him into a shutdown defenseman. Let's not forget, all of his highlights on Wednesday came while he was on the ice on the attack, not from back in his own zone.

But this game was still a step in the right direction for the Caps.

Said Trotz, "All I know is that when [Djoos] was on the ice we seemed to have the puck a little bit more."

MORE CAPITALS: DJOOS' DEBUT SPOILED IN 3-2 LOSS TO PENGUINS

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Nicklas Backstrom is trying really hard not to get frustrated with lack of goals

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Nicklas Backstrom is trying really hard not to get frustrated with lack of goals

Nicklas Backstrom has made a career out of setting up other players, but what many forget is that he is a pretty darn good scorer in his own right. Just not these days.

Backstrom had three goals in the first six games of the season, but since then he has been held scoreless. His last goal game on Oct. 14 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

RELATED: LISTEN TO THE LATEST CAPITALS EXTRA PODCAST ON THE CAPS' WIN OVER MINNESOTA!

Offense, in general, has been hard to come by for the veteran center who also underwent a career-long seven-game pointless streak.

While Backstrom has managed to get back on the score sheet with three assists in his last five games, he still can’t seem to get a goal.

“Obviously you want to score,” Backstrom said. “That's a no brainer, but at the same time you've just got to stick with it. I mean, at least I created chances tonight.”

While the goals may not be there, however, the chances are. For Barry Trotz, that’s an encouraging sign.

“Backy was on the bench, I gave him a little tap I said you know the hockey gods will even that out,” Trotz said. “You probably could have had three tonight and he'll probably get one of those leaky lizards go through the legs or through the arms and one from a bad angle. They'll even it out for him.”

MORE CAPITALS: OVECHKIN GETS STITCHES AFTER GETTING HIT BY PUCK, BUT REMAINS INDESTRUCTIBLE

With Backstrom taking on a more defensive shutdown role this season, his offensive numbers have taken a hit. The Capitals, however, do not have the same scoring depth as in recent years and need Backstrom, still arguably their best center, to produce offensively in order to be successful. He is just too good of a player to not produce.

But given his recent play, Trotz is not all that concerned and believes the goals are coming. Backstrom seems to agree.

“The sun goes up the next day anyway even if I don't score,” he said, “So you've just got to stick with it, work hard and hopefully you'll get rewarded.”

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Alex Ovechkin gets stitches to the lip after getting hit by puck, but he remains indestructible

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Alex Ovechkin gets stitches to the lip after getting hit by puck, but he remains indestructible

It's always scary when you see a player get hit in the head with a puck. It's even scarier when you're a fan of the Caps and that player is Alex Ovechkin.

But there's is one thing you should always remember before you worry about the Great 8: He is not built like a normal human being.

Ovechkin was struck in the face by a puck in the second period of Saturday's game against the Minnesota Wild. It was a scary moment made scarier by the pool of blood he left behind on the ice as he made his way to the locker room.

RELATED: 4 REASONS WHY THE CAPS BEAT THE WILD

"Anybody who takes a puck to the face, you hope that they're not hurt badly," Barry Trotz said after the game. "Anytime you get hit to the face there's usually pretty good leakage. I saw, I knew he got hit in the face and in the mouth area and there was pretty good leakage around our bench and he went off and we were just hoping that it's not too serious."

Remarkably, it wasn't serious. Ovechkin missed the remainder of the second period, but returned for the third. After the game, there were a few stitches in his lip, but otherwise there appeared to be no serious damage.

Ovechkin said that after he had been hit he "Just tried to feel my tooth and it was fine. Just moving a little bit, but it's fine. It's hockey."

The fact that no serious damage was done turned what was a scary moment into one both players and coach could laugh at afterward.

MORE CAPITALS: WHO WERE THE 3 STARS OF THE CAPS' WIN OVER MINNESOTA?

"He's a big strong man and he's got a few zippers so he's a lot better looking now that they fixed him up and all that," Trotz said. "It's when you get stitched up, that's the great thing about medicine, they can make you look great."

"It can be much worser," Ovechkin said when asked if he was scared in the moment. "I could lose my teeth."

Nicklas Backstrom had the same thought many of you are probably asking yourself right now: "Does he have any more teeth?"

It was just another reminder that Ovechkin is truly a machine. You know what they say, "Russian Machine...never gets broken."

I think that's how the saying goes.