Madison Bowey’s second game went a lot better than his first and it’s not just because the Caps allowed only two goals as opposed to eight.
Despite being thrust into a significant role in his first taste of NHL experience, Bowey seemed to settle in a bit in his second contest even as it came against the NHL’s best offense in the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Just everything in the first game felt like it happened so quick, I think,” Bowey said Thursday after the team’s practice. “It was obviously nice to come back in Washington and play in the home in front of the home crowd, get a practice in on Monday before the game Tuesday with the team. Just all the little factors that went into it definitely helped and I think it definitely felt a lot smoother out there on the ice.”
RELATED: BURAKOVSKY DEMOTED TO THIRD LINE
Playing at home definitely has its benefits for the coaching staff as they try to protect the rookie defensemen. Home teams get the chance to change after the visiting team allowing the coaches to pick the matchups they want for Bowey.
More favorable matchups certainly helped him, but Bowey also seemed to play with more confidence and a level of calm that was not there against Philadelphia. For Bowey, the difference was having time to settle in and practice with the team.
“Obviously this team is one of the veteran teams in the league so to be able to practice against top players in the league, it goes a long way,” Bowey said.
Bowey was called up for a Saturday game in Philadelphia after Matt Niskanen suffered a hand injury Friday in New Jersey. That means he quickly had to join the team and jump into the lineup for his first ever NHL game without any practice with the Caps at all.
Bowey now has two practices and two games under his belt and even a team-building day at FBI training. The effect that has had on his game was noticeable on Tuesday. It should be even more clear on Friday as the team travels to face the Detroit Red Wings.
“I feel myself improving every day,” Bowey said. “It forces you to really work hard and be on your top every day you come to the rink so for me, just having those two practices already have been huge. I feel the development's getting a lot better early.”