The Capitals dropped their first regulation game of the 2021-22 season with a 3-2 loss to the Lightning on Monday in Tampa Bay.
Here are a few takeaways from the loss:
Vasilevskiy the difference-maker
The Capitals opened Monday’s game in Tampa Bay with a bang — and the rest of the night without much else.
After taking an early 1-0 lead on the Lightning, Andre Vasilevskiy stood on his head all night long. Early in the second period, Tom Wilson was robbed by Vasilevskiy with the glove on a 2-on-1 chance on a shot that would’ve made the game 2-0 Capitals.
Then, early in the third, Connor McMichael was stopped on a breakaway chance just before the Lightning made the game 3-1. On a night when the Capitals had more than a few nice scoring chances, the netminder for the Lightning was the difference.
The only other goal they tallied was on the man-advantage in the third period when Conor Sheary potted a cross-crease pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Point streak concludes
For the first time all season long, the Capitals didn’t earn a point at the end of the night as they lost their first regulation game of the year.
Their eight-game point streak came to an end with the loss and left them at 5-1-3 on the young season. Still, the Capitals have been absent Nicklas Backstrom for the entire season and, for parts of the season, T.J. Oshie and Nic Dowd. For the team to have earned 13 points out of the first nine games feels like a success.
Leason gets first
Brett Leason didn’t play much more than two minutes in the first period, but he certainly made the most of it.
He fired a seemingly innocent shot from the half-wall that found its way behind Vasilevskiy to give the Capitals an early 1-0 lead. It was Leason’s first-ever NHL goal.
With a bevy of young players on the NHL roster due to injuries to established veterans, the Capitals have five rookies on the team at the moment. And Leason, in just his second game, is on the scoresheet.
Vanecek starts net once again
The Capitals turned to Vitek Vanecek in net for the sixth out of nine games this season against one of the NHL's most high-powered offensive attacks. In the loss, Vanecek stopped 23 of 26 shots — one of the goals he allowed came on a 5-on-3 powerplay for the Lightning.
Through the first nine games of the season, there's a clear desire to split the starts at least in some regard for coach Peter Laviolette between Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov. And for now, Vanecek has earned the right to earn the higher percentage of those starts.