The Caps earned their second win of the preseason on Monday with a 2-1 shootout win over St. Louis. It was the strongest lineup the Caps have featured yet this preseason.
3 players who impressed
Paul Carey: Hardwork is often rewarded in games and that was the case on Monday for Paul Carey. Carey was the Caps' lone goal-scorer in the team's 2-1 shootout win against the St. Louis Blues as he deflected a shot from Zach Sill over the shoulder of Blues goalie Carter Hutton. The goal reflected the type of camp Carey is having. Often overshadowed by the Caps' young prospects, the 28-year-old Carey has been very impressive in the preseason and he is leaving an impression on the coaching staff.
"He's had a really good camp," Trotz said. "Skating really well, he's producing, he's a very detailed player. He's had a good camp from before I was here and then since I've been here I thought he's been very effective in both games so that's good on him. ... He's making a statement in camp for sure."
Alex Ovechkin: When it comes to the preseason, some of the NHL regulars aren't putting in a full effort. They mail it in. It happens. When it comes to Alex Ovechkin, however, there's no such thing as half-speed. At least offensively. Ovechkin attempted a whopping 17 shots Monday in his preseason debut. Read that again: 17. Just as impressive is the fact that 10 of those shots were on net. Two of his shots missed their mark and another five were blocked. That's a full day's worth of work from one of the best players in the NHL.
Braden Holtby: Remember all that talk about whether Braden Holtby would be rusty after not playing in the World Cup? Yeah, not so much. In two preseason games he has turned aside 37 of the 39 shots he has faced. Though he said after the game there were things he still needs to work on, Holtby looks ready for the start of the regular season.
3 players who need to show improvement
Taylor Chorney: It was a rough game for Taylor Chorney. Whenever he was on the ice, the play noticeably shifted into the Caps' end of the ice as the Blues began to exert control. He also whiffed completely on the Dmitrij Jaskin goal. As Jaskin tried to corral the puck behind the defense, Chorney had a chance to break up the play, but he overskated allowing Jaskin to easily carry the puck around him and put it into the back of the net. You have to take the body or take the puck, you can't miss both.
Zach Sanford: Barry Trotz was extremely complimentary of Sanford's play after the game, but clearly he is still adjusting with the switch from center to wing. Playing on the second line, Sanford had zero shot attempts through the first two periods. He seemed more hesitant than he had looked at any point in camp. Sanford made the move from center to wing and clearly he is still working through the transition. Still, Trotz had high praise for the young prospect.
"He made a number of Joel Ward type plays off the wall," Trotz said. "His puck poise in the small space and along the wall, I thought it was exceptional for just moving him over [to wing]."
The potential is there, he just needs more time to adjust to the new role.
Dmitry Orlov: Like Sanford, Dmitry Orlov is trying to adjust to his new growing role with the team. Part of that role will adjusting to playing on the penalty kill. Orlov played 2:37 shorthanded. He wasn't terrible, but it was clear that part of his game was still a work in progress. But Trotz likes Orlov's potential in that role.
"We want orly to grow," Trotz said. "We'll probably weigh that out where we want most of his growth to be in so he can focus in on one or two areas there and then it'll grow as he keeps maturing as a player. He's got great instincts, he's got real quick feet, he's got a good stick, quick stick and he's fearless when it comes to blocking shots and stuff like that. All those things said, yeah I could see him on the penalty kill."
One problem Orlov has last season was that his major mistakes always seemed to come at the most inopportune times. That happened again on Monday as Orlov was whistled for interference late in the third in a tie game. He's got to cut down on those mistakes if he wants to become a dependable, top-four defenseman.
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