About 24 hours before he scored the tying goal against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, defenseman Martin Fehervary laid face down on the ice near the Capitals’ bench, unable to get up.
Fehervary took a high hit from Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brock McGinn and had to be helped off the ice in the second period of Friday's game. He didn’t return to the ice for the remainder of the night, which ended in a 4-2 loss to the Penguins. He was listed as having an upper-body injury.
But against the Sabres, Fehervary said he felt good in time to rejoin the lineup and returned in time for the Capitals’ game a day later in Buffalo. And he didn’t just play, he scored the tying goal in the third period in an eventual 3-2 shootout win.
That Fehervary rejoined the lineup was not just a good sign for his health on a team hampered by injuries all year, he’s been one of the team’s most impressive players this season.
Paired with right-handed shot John Carlson for the entirety of the season, he’s played in 28 games and now has three goals and three assists. He is one of just seven players for the Capitals to have played in all of the team’s games so far this year.
His puck-moving ability and skating was known upon his addition to the Capitals’ lineup at the start of this season, but he’s brought a physical brand of hockey and has shown no signs of the game being too fast or too big for him through the first full season of his NHL career.
Through 28 games this season, he and Carlson have a positive five-on-five shot-attempt percentage, scoring chances percentage and high-danger chances percentage. With steady pairings of Dmitry Orlov and Nick Jensen, followed by Trevor van Riemsdyk and Justin Schultz behind, the Capitals haven’t had to rely exclusively on any one pairing.
But the pairing of Fehervary and Carlson has been a reliable and sturdy pairing through the first 28 games, and Fehervary’s emergence has helped solidify the Capitals’ blue line.
His position in the lineup Saturday, and lack thereof Friday, helped prove that.