The Washington Capitals opened up the 2015 Rookie Tournament on Saturday against the Florida Panthers. Vitek Vanecek, The Capitals second round draft pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, got the start in goal for the Caps. Chandler Stephenson was selected as the captain for the Washington Capitals, and Madison Bowey and Liam O’Brien were selected as the alternates.
Offensive Lines: Vrana-Stephenson-Barber, Herbert-Boyd-O’Brien, Walker-Koules-Elgestal, McGauley-Cox-Deblois.
Defensive Pairings: Siegenthaler-Bowey, Djoos-Lewington, Texeira-Hobbs. Vanecek in goal, Kozun backup. Scratches: Basso, Gibb, Wilson.
As could be expected, the game lacked in offensive cohesiveness and play-making. Considering the amount of time the players have spent on the ice with line mates, this was not too surprising. Offensive play picked up towards the end of the game, so tomorrows (Sunday) game should show a little more offensive flow. Goalie Vitek Vanecek was the star of the game for the Capitals. Jakub Vrana, Connor Hobbs and Chandler Stephenson all had good games.
The first 15 minutes were predominantly controlled by the Panthers. Vanecek was solid in net, making several nice saves. Capitals Caleb Herbert drew the first penalty in the game for a nice hit on a Panther. The Capitals were able to successfully kill the two-minute minor penalty, but had very few offensive chances in the period. The Caps showed a little more offensive push in the final two minutes, however, the first period ended scoreless. Panthers out-shot the Caps 7-4 for the period.
Vanecek opened the second period with a couple of big stops. Chandler Stephenson had the first good opportunity for the Caps on a break away, but the Panthers goalie made a nice stop. The Capitals had much better offensive pressure in the second period, Jakub Vrana hit a poster early in the second period. Late in the second period, at the 15:07 mark, Connor Hobbs finally scored for the Capitals. Derek Deblois got the assist. Caps went on the power play late in the period, on a tripping call against Defenseman Josh Brown of the Panthers. Travis Boyd blasted one off the post before the Caps were called for a penalty. The period ended with the Caps holding on to a 1-0 lead. Caps took the lead on SOG, 13-11, for the game.
Caps opened the third period successfully killing the remaining 1:23 on a penalty. Pace of play picked up on both ends of the ice. Vanecek had a nice save at the start of the period. Liam O’Brien made a great pass to Caleb Herbert in front of the net, but the Panthers goalie made a great stop near the mid-point of the third. Vanecek made another great stop on a Panthers breakaway, and a good follow-up stop on the rebound. Panthers tied the game on a shot by Panthers Connor Brickley at 13:51 mark of the third. The opportunity resulted from a neutral zone turnover by the Capitals. Capitals went on the power play with 0:58 remaining in the 3rd, but were unable to break the tie.
The Capitals opened the overtime period on the power-play. Liam O’Brien nailed the cross-bar, but the Capitals were unable to score. Both teams had nice offensive pressure in the overtime. The teams went to 3 on 3 play which really opened things up, but neither team could score.
In addition to the regulation three 20-minute periods, each game in the Rookie Tournament will conclude with a shootout, regardless of the score after regulation. Riley Barber went first for the Caps but lost control of the puck and the try was unsuccessful. The Panthers scored on their first attempt. Vrana went second for the Caps, but he was also denied. Vanecek stopped the Panthers on the next try. Travis Boyd went 3rd, but was stopped. Panthers win 2-1.
News and Notes
As per Alex Prewitt, “One more note from Troy Mann: Already mentioning 2nd-rounder Jonas Siegenthaler (Zurich) as a possible spring addition for the Bears”.
Also from Alex Prewitt, “Chatted with Trotz between periods. Expectation is that Orpik (wrist) will be healthy in time for exhibitions, but not Backstrom (hip). Trotz said he spoke with Latta, Laich, Burakovsky all recently, told them to expect time at both wing and center during camp.
Gif videos of some of the key plays can be found here.