Capitals

Caps beat Bruins in OT for first preseason win: Observations

Capitals

The Capitals have just one preseason game left to play after their 4-3 win against the Bruins in overtime on Wednesday night at TD Garden. Anthony Mantha got the winner in the extra frame. The Capitals won the shootout as well. 

Washington put out an NHL lineup, as did Boston, with less than a week until the regular season begins, which gave some glimpse of what could be to come this season. 

Here are a few takeaways:

A new pairing?

The Capitals, absent Martin Fehervary, had a new pairing against the Bruins.

Trevor van Riemsdyk started the game on the left side with John Carlson on his right. Dmitry Orlov started with Nick Jensen and Michal Kempny was with Justin Schultz.

Through the duration of training camp, Fehervary had spent extensive time on a pairing with Schultz, but it's unclear if that will stick when he returns to the lineup.

While unknown how long Fehervary (upper body) will be out, coach Peter Laviolette didn’t sound terribly concerned either way about his absence taking a long time.

Vitek shines

With Ilya Samsonov (lower body) out of Wednesday’s game, the net was left to Vitek Vanecek. And in his start, he kept the Capitals in the game.

He made 33 stops on 36 shots, but the numbers still weren’t as kind to him as the way he played. Vanecek made a few big stops early in the game, including on a few key chances from Boston’s top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. 

 

Samsonov said he was healthy on Wednesday morning, and that he felt no pain.

The Capitals will need both Samsonov and Vanecek this season, but it’s clear that Laviolette would prefer to lean on just one netminder this season. In that case, performances like Wednesday's could go a long way.

McMichael leads third line

Connor McMichael had yet another chance to prove he belongs as the Capitals’ third line center to start the season. 

Absent Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals appear to be ready to boost Lars Eller to a top six role, and with Nic Dowd on the fourth line, that leaves an open spot for McMichael to take if he wants it. 

And in the team’s second-to-last preseason game, he had a strong showing. In his time on the ice, McMichael controlled the puck and nearly slammed home a wrap-around attempt in the first period. With Conor Sheary and T.J. Oshie on his wings, the talented trio created some high-danger chances in the offensive zone. 

With just one preseason game left, the Hershey Bears’ leading scorer from a year ago has done all he can do to make the NHL roster.

One to go

The Capitals have just one preseason game left, which will be on Friday at home against the Flyers. 

As of now, they’ve got 27 players on the roster and will need to do some further trimming to get the team down. Some moves, like sending goaltender Zach Fucale down to Hershey once Samsonov is fully healthy as well as the potential addition of Backstrom to long-term injured reserve, still can be made. 

But there’s just one game left to be played before the Capitals will have to flip the switch into full regular season mode, as opening night at Capital One Arena is now less than a week away.