Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ preseason opening loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1 in overtime, on Monday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: Prospect Madison Bowey scored on the power play with 6:02 left to play to force overtime and give the Capitals’ prospect heavy-lineup a chance. But Justin Faulk rifled a shot past Drew MacIntyre on the power play to lift the Hurricanes with seven seconds remaining in the extra session. Carolina’s first goal was scored by Patrick Brown, who ripped a shot over Vitek Vanecek’s glove with 18 seconds left in the first period.
What it means: The storyline to watch is the injury suffered by Tom Wilson late in the second period. The Capitals said the big winger suffered an upper body injury and would not return for precautionary reasons. Although it was not immediately clear when Wilson got hurt, he did catch a shoulder from Jordan Staal with 3:18 remaining in the middle frame. Staal was called for elbowing and, after play was whistled dead, Wilson glided to the bench and took a seat. It should be noted that Staal and Wilson had been jawing at one another for much of the game.
Halfsies: Vanecek stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced, including a couple of big pad stops on the penalty kill in the first period. Overall, the 2014 second-round pick was mostly solid in his NHL debut but has work to do on his rebound control. Vanecek was replaced by Drew MacIntyre midway through the second period. MacIntyre, meantime, finished with 14 stops, including three in the extra session.
Anticipated debut: 2016 first rounder Lucas Johansen had a solid pro debut skating alongside veteran Taylor Chorney. Johansen, the 28th overall pick in June, skated 19:06. He finished with one shot, one hit and a minor penalty. Best word to sum up his performance? Uneventful, which is meant as a compliment for a rookie defenseman making his NHL debut.
A-Team: With Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup, associate coach Todd Reirden handed out three alternate captain ‘A’s — to Orpik, Wilson and Jay Beagle. Orpik wore an ‘A’ last season; Wilson is expected to take on a bigger role on and off the ice this season; and Beagle is a hardworking, heart-and-soul guy.
Inside the box score: Prospect Nathan Walker finished with a game-high six hits in 13:18 of ice time.
Look ahead: The Capitals face the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday night. Some of the players who suited up against the Hurricanes also might make the trip to Bell Centre, but Reirden said final decision on a lineup wouldn’t be made until after the coaches meet after Monday’s game. “For sure some players will play back-to-back games,” Reirden said before the game. “But we want to see how things go in terms of what people do with their opportunity. That’s the beauty of training camp.”