Not a good looking loss for the Capitals in the third preseason game of the year. At the end of the game the scoreline reads 4-0. After watching the past two games though I think tonight’s game was better than the 3-2 win in Montreal on Wednesday night. Even though the Capitals beat the Canadiens a couple of nights ago it was a game that Montreal was the better team.
On top of that, for me I didn’t see any Capital that stood out from that game. In tonight’s 4-0 defeat there was a couple of Caps’ that stood out. Who? Lets take a look.
The Capitals still didn’t win the shot attempts battle, something that has become a trend. Tonight the final number was 54-47 (45-38 even strength). That number is helped out by the third period that Washington had where they out attempted the Blues 24-12 and 19-9 while 5v5.
There wasn’t too many players that finished with a good +/- number in the shot attempts. Aaron Ness was the best skater tonight at +5 with 16 attempts for a 11 against. Backstrom was +4 and Oshie was +3. Just four other Caps’ finished positive in this stat: Peluso, Carlson and Lewington all at +2 and Bau and Burakovsky at +1.
As for the bad, young defenseman Christian Djoos was -11 with 7 attempts for and 18 against. Travis Boyd and Devante Smith-Pelly were -8 while Wilson, Johnasen and Chorney were all -6. A guy Capitals fans are hopeful for Jakub Vrana was a -4, 8 attempts for and 12 against.
Tyler Graovac who was noticeable all game long was one of the many that finished as a minus, he finished the game at 9 attempts for and 10 attempts against.
As said above I think this game was better than the 3-2 win in Montreal because there was more guys I noticed who made an impact. I had Lars Eller with 5 chances for. To me that meant he was either directly involved in creating a chance or a great chance himself like a good shot.
Others who had some good chances, Graovac had 4, Oshie and Wilson had 3 and Backstrom, Vrana, Peluso, Bau, and Ness all had 2.
As for faceoffs, it was a good night for the home side, the Capitals won 57% or 31 of 54 draws. The Caps started a little weak at the dot but improved as the game went along. They won just 46% in the first period, then won 56% in the second and an impressive 65% or 15 of 23 in the third.
Six Capitals took more than two faceoffs against the Blues and just one finished below 50%. That one guy was Nicklas Backstrom who finished just 7-17 or 41%. Tyler Graovac won 9-11 and Lars Eller won 6-9 those two being the standouts on the night. Chander Stephenson, Travis Boyd and T.J. Oshie all finished at 50% exactly.
Something I noted after the win in Montreal was the Capitals winning just 43% of the defensive zone draws. Tonight vs St. Louis the Capitals rebounded and won 64% (9-14) of the faceoffs in the Dzone.
It wasn’t a great game. St. Louis controlled most of the game and won by a lopsided score. But, it is still preseason, sure you want the team to play better but take the result and throw it out the window. You’re looking for names to pencil into the lineup on opening night.
Graovac looked great vs the Blues, he was good at faceoffs, he created some chaos and some chances came with his effort. Ness looked good I thought. He made a mistake that lead to the goal that made it 4-0 but he didn’t make that many mistakes and was one of the only defenseman to create a chance for.
Lineup regular Wilson had a good game creating chances, hitting guys and getting in a fight. In the third period when the Capitals dominated possession Backstrom and Oshie had multiple chances each.
While the score may say otherwise, I don’t think tonight was as bad as you may think. More importantly, we’re one step closer to these games actually counting. Just a few more games and we start doing it for real.
By CJ Witt