The smile on Dmitry Orlov’s face after he blasted a howitzer behind Anders Nilsson said it all.
Six months after Capitals head coach Barry Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan wondered if Orlov would ever regain full strength in his surgically repaired left wrist, Orlov is giving them an emphatic answer.
Two nights after faking two Colorado defenders out of their skates with an Alex Ovechkin-esque move, Orlov showed his arm strength with a game-winning slap shot that nearly ripped through the twine before Edmonton Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson knew it was behind him.
“It came to me and I just tried to shoot it and it went in,” Orlov said. “Nothing crazy. Nothing fancy.”
Orlove did crazy and fancy on Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche when he netted his first NHL goal since first breaking his left wrist in the 2014 World Championships. He developed an infection in his wrist during his recovery, requiring a second surgery that essentially ended his season before it ever started.
Through 20 games this season Orlov has two goals, five assists, 20 hits, nine blocked shots, two penalty minutes and is a plus-4. His big shot Monday night proved to be the difference in a game the Oilers felt they deserved to win.
“He’s actually got a tremendous shot,” said Caps left wing Brooks Laich, who assisted on Orlov’s goal. “It’s also nice when the puck comes off the wall right into your wheelhouse. He was patient and he was in great position.”
Orlov said scoring his first goal in 20 months on Saturday night helped his confidence.
“It was a different game, but one shot can change the whole game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who scores, but I’ll take it.”