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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Predators

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Predators

The Capitals had a rough night in Nashville. They fell behind 2-0 in the first period, battled back to tie it at 2, but then the Predators took over and handed the Caps the 6-3 loss.

Here is how it happened.

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The first period

You would be hard-pressed to find a worse period of hockey from the Caps this season than what we saw in the first period Tuesday. By the time Washington got its first shot on goal, the Predators already led 2-0. The Caps were outshot 16-4 and were called for three penalties. Actually, they were called for four, but Craig Smith scored during the delayed call. Nashville came out of the game flying. Washington struggled to deal with their speed and struggled to get anything on net. The Predators were swarming in the defensive zone cutting off every shot and pass and just generally making life difficult for the Caps.

Nashville's second period response

Washington came out swinging in the second period with two goals less than two minutes apart to tie the game at 2. Filip Forsberg answered just 17 seconds later to re-establish the lead for Nashville and this time they would not relinquish it. Less than three minutes after Forsberg’s goal, Kevin Fiala made it 4-2. T.J. Oshie would also score in the second, but goals from Miikka Salomaki and Mattias Ekholm helped the Predators take a three-goal lead into the intermission.

MORE CAPITALS: WHY NASHVILLE'S FIRST GOAL SHOULD NOT HAVE COUNTED

Deflections

Braden Holtby has been on fire as of late. How do you beat a hot goalie? You get traffic in front and plenty of deflections. Nashville did just that as every one of their first four goals came off a deflection. They may have ultimately gotten five deflection goals, but it is hard to tell if Ekholm’s shot hit something on its way to the net.

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Capitals trim two more from roster, sending pair of goalies to Hershey

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Capitals trim two more from roster, sending pair of goalies to Hershey

Washington made a number of cuts Saturday morning to trim their roster down to 43 players

On Saturday night, they cut it down to 41 as the team announced goalies Parker Milner and Adam Morrison were assigned to AHL Hershey.

Milner and Morrison’s departure leaves Washington with four goalies on the current roster in Braden Holtby, Pheonix Copley, Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov.

The trade of Philipp Grubauer left the backup role in Washington a matter of some question heading into the season, but the team’s top four was never really in doubt. Saturday’s move to send Milner and Morrison to the AHL only confirms what we already knew.

With Hershey’s training camp set to start on Monday, the Bears will obviously need two goalies which explains why the move was made now. 

This will likely only be a temporary move, however, as Vanecek and Samsonov are likely to be Hershey’s goalies heading into the regular season. For now, keeping them on the Capitals roster allows them to continue practicing against better competition and will allow them the opportunity for more work in the preseason.

The Capitals still have another three preseason games left to play, the next of which will take place on Tuesday in St. Louis. 

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Capitals make another round of cuts sending several players to Hershey

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Capitals make another round of cuts sending several players to Hershey

With Hershey Bears training camp set to start on Monday, the Caps have sent a number of players to the AHL in the latest round of roster cuts. Mathias Bau, Hampus Gustafsson, Beck Malenstyn, Mason Mitchell, Brian Pinho, Kristofers Bindulis, Tobias Geisser have all been returned to Hershey. Grant Besse, who was on an AHL contract, has been returned as well. Mark Simpson has been released from his tryout agreement.

Of the players returned, there are no major surprises. The Caps only have room to add a fourth line center and possibly one or two extra forwards as well as a backup goalie and none of the players listed were in serious contention for taking one of those spots.

The moves cut Washington’s roster down to 43. The maximum roster allowed in-season is 23 players, provided the salaries fit under the $79.5 million salary cap ceiling.

The latest round of cuts still leave up for grabs the fourth line center job as Nic Dowd, Travis Boyd and Jayson Megna still remain on the current roster.

After playing four preseason games, the Caps have three more contests remaining before the start of the season. With plenty of prospects still on the roster, you can expect several of those players to be in the lineup for Tuesday’s game in St. Louis.

“For me, it's really important, really important for the overall direction of our organization to have our young players playing games,” head coach Todd Reirden said Friday. “We have to have them playing games. We can easily put out almost our entire roster to play [Friday’s] game, but that is not where we're at. We're about developing players within our organization, seeing where they're at, gauging the success that maybe they've already had in terms of their careers and seeing whether they're ready for this step or not.

“For the first four games you go through for sure a trial and error and you get to really gauge where your prospects are at. I've always felt strongly about that with young players and given them an opportunity to either stay or leave. It is in their hands. They're making the decisions for me.”

 

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