The Capitals cruised past the New York Islanders 4-0 in their preseason finale on Sunday.
How it happened: Andre Burakovsky scored just 1:06 into the game and the Caps never looked back. Braden Holtby made sure the game was never close, turning aside every shot the Islanders fired at him. Lars Eller and Alex Ovechkin would add tallies in the third and T.J. Oshie added an exclamation point in the third.
What it means: With the final preseason game now in the books, the Caps can now turn their attention to the regular season and begin preparing for meaningful hockey.
Final auditions: The NHL deadline to cut the roster down to 23 players is Tuesday at 5 p.m. The Caps currently have 24 players on the roster, but as head coach Barry Trotz stated on Saturday, he intends to carry 22 players. That means two more cuts are coming. Sunday's game provided a final dress rehearsal for those players on the bubble such as Zach Sanford and Zach Sill. Sanford likely cemented his spot on the team with another strong performance including one assist. Interestingly enough, Brett Connolly and Aaron Ness did not play.
The return of Jason Chimera (sort of): Sunday was the Caps' first look at Jason Chimera in an Islanders uniform. The fact that it came in the preseason made it a tad less meaningful so Chimera took that opportunity to reacquaint himself with his former teammates.
Things will probably get a tad more serious when Chimera and Co. return on Saturday for the Capitals' home opener.
Injury scare: The biggest goal at this point in the preseason is to avoid injury. The Caps were given a scare at the end of the first period when Brooks Orpik took a hit from Cal Clutterbuck and was slow to get up. Clutterbuck skated into the Caps' zone with the puck near the boards. Orpik lined him up for the hit, but Clutterbuck saw him coming and hit him up high, appearing to strike Orpik in the head with his elbow. No penalty was called on the play. Orpik was down on the ice a few seconds but went to the bench under his own power. He returned for the start with seemingly no ill effects.
Peaking at the right time: Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal and Braden Holtby recorded his first shutout of the preseason on Sunday just as the team will begin looking towards the start of the regular season. Working a 5-on-3 advantage, Ovechkin fired a one-time shot past Jaroslav Halak in the second period to put the Caps up 3-0. He also added an assist on T.J. Oshie's goal in the third period. Holtby, meanwhile, had his strongest performance of the preseason as he turned aside all 24 shots he faced. Granted, this is not exactly what the Caps meant when they talk about peaking at the right time, but the fact that both of the team's superstars had strong performances on the eve of the regular season is a good sign.
Look ahead: The Capitals open the regular season on Thursday in Pittsburgh where they will watch the team that beat them in the playoffs last season raise a Stanley Cup banner. The home opener for Washington will be on Saturday against the New York Islanders.
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