News and notes from the Capitals’ 4-3 preseason loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh:
How it happened: Alex Ovechkin scored 20 seconds into the game and Stan Galiev and Michael Latta added goals to give the Caps a 3-1 lead, but the Hurricanes stormed back to tie with back-to-back goals in the second period. Neither team scored in the 3-on-3 overtime, with T.J. Oshie getting stopped on a breakaway, sending the game to a shootout. Oshie scored the lone goal for the Caps in the shootout, but Jeff Skinner and Nathan Gerbe beat Justin Peters to earn the win. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Galiev and Andre Burakovsky were stopped by Eddie Halak in the shootout.
Holtby so-so: Braden Holtby entered the game with a 2.50 GAA and .889 save percentage in two preseason appearances and saw those numbers inflated by allowing three goals on 22 shots in 40 minutes of work. He gave way to Justin Peters, who was perfect in the third period and has allowed just one goal in just under 80 minutes of preseason action.
Answering the bell: Hours after Caps coach Barry Trotz said he wanted to see more out of winger Stan Galiev, the Russian sniper played his best game of the preseason, scoring one goal on three shots and delivering two hits. Galiev also had two chances to win it in overtime.
Latta impact: Playing in his first game since suffering a lower body injury last week, Caps center Michael Latta played a strong two-way game on a line with wingers Sean Collins and Brooks Laich. Latta scored 5:47 into the second period and upended Eric Staal with a big hit in the third. He also won 8 of 9 faceoffs. Kuznetsov (5 of 15) and Burakovskly (3 of 12) did not fare as well on draws.
Making his mark: Sean Collins, a Cornell grad who has spent his entire pro career with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, assisted on Latta’s goal and played solid in 11:30 of ice time.
3-on-3 strategy: Trotz started the 3-on-3 OT with Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams and Matt Niskanen, but as soon as the Caps won the faceoff, Ovechkin replaced Williams 4 seconds into the overtime. Trotz used 10 different forwards and four different defensemen in the OT. Each team iced the puck once in the OT.
Home sweet home: The Caps will be given the day off on Thursday. They return to game action Friday night at home against the Boston Bruins (7 p.m., CSN) and conclude their preseason Sunday night at Verizon Center against the New York Islanders (5 p.m., CSN). In fact, with four straight home games to start the regular season, the Caps will not sleep in hotel beds until Oct. 19 when they begin a three-game road trip to western Canada.
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