Coming off two preseason losses to the Bruins, the Capitals look to secure their first win of the preseason in Montreal against the Canadiens on Thursday night.
The Canadiens are one of the four teams the Capitals will face in preseason play, along with the Bruins, Hurricanes, and Blues.
The next time the Capitals and Canadiens will meet again will be the first of November back in Montreal.
But first, it's time to get back on the ice for Game 3 of the seven-game preseason schedule.
CAPITALS-CANADIENS PRESEASON GAME 3: HOW TO WATCH
What: Washington Capitals vs. Canadiens
Where: Videotron Centre, Quebec City, QC, Canada
When: Thursday, September, 20, 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Capitals-Canadiens preseason game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens preseason on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.
Radio: Caps Radio 24/7
CAPITALS-CANADIENS PRESEASON TV SCHEDULE:
6:30 PM: Beyond the Scoreboard: Zach Leonsis
7:00 PM: Capitals vs Montreal Canadiens
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: DC Sports Live
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The Capitals made their first roster cuts of training camp on Wednesday with the most notable name being the young defenseman Alex Alexeyev, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2018. A high draft pick getting sent back to his junior team less than a week into training camp could lead fans to jump to the conclusion that he has not performed well, but that would be incorrect. The reality is that the team has been very impressed with his performance.
Alexeyev recorded an assist in his lone preseason performance on Tuesday. He admitted to having some nerves at the beginning of the game to NHL.com writer Tom Gulitti, but he was able to settle down after that and managed very strong [performance overall.
Alex Alexeyev said he was nervous the first couple shifts tonight, "but after this I get used to it."— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) September 19, 2018
Alexeyev said the biggest thing he learned tonight was "how fast the game is."
“[Alexeyev] continues to show his ability to play in a number of different ways,” head coach Todd Reirden said after the game. “Just really some high skill plays in tight areas where he’s executing passes that normally guys at that size and that age probably don’t do as defensemen.”
Roster cuts have a negative connotation for most as they think in terms of NFL cuts (or this). To see Alexeyev cut this early may make some worry that it was because he was not good enough to make the team. That’s true, but only partially.
Alexeyev is not good enough to make the team…yet.
With John Carlson, Michal Kempny, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey and Brooks Orpik all returning, the Capitals’ defense is set for this season. There are also players like Jonas Siegenthaler, Lucas Johansen and Connor Hobbs all competing to show they are ready for the NHL in case of a call-up. There is just no room for Alexeyev yet, but he has shown clear future NHL potential.
But why send him back if they see potential in him? Wouldn’t he benefit from more time practicing with NHL coaches and players?
Yes if the coaches are focused purely on development. As training camp progresses, however, and the upcoming season draws closer and closer, Reirden and his coaching staff will focus more and more primarily on preparing for the season. That means more time working with the NHL players and less time for the young prospects.
The best thing for a player’s development is playing. Alexeyev’s junior team, the Red Deer Rebels, played its final game of the preseason on Saturday and will begin the regular season on Friday. The time to send junior players who are not going to make the NHL roster is now so that they can go back to their teams and get game action.
There’s a lot of excitement around Alexeyev and for good reason. His play in development camp, the rookie tournament and the preseason have, thus far, justified the faith the Caps showed in him when they drafted him in the first round. Sending him back to the WHL now is what is best for the development of a promising young player who is not ready quite yet to make the NHL.
Said Reirden, “[Alexeyev’s] a guy that has a bright future ahead of him and continuing to learn and grow every day."
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