Photo: CSN Capitals
The preseason keeps rolling along. On Wednesday night it was game number 5. Unfortunately game number 5 was similar to the other preseason games and preseason losses. The Capitals lost to the New Jersey Devils 4-1.
So far, in four of the five preseason games the Capitals have played they have surrendered four goals. In all five of those games the Capitals have also lost the Corsi battle. Only against Carolina on the 23rd did the Capitals get the better of the shot attempts while 5v5.
While most people will say, “Oh, it’s only preseason.” the Capitals better get it into gear sooner rather than later. While I haven’t seen every second of every game the players that have to step up the most in my mind are the stars. Not once this preseason have I looked at one of the big names on this Capitals roster and thought, “That guy is flying and ready to go for the regular season”.
It’s mostly been bottom six forwards who have looked good, guys like Tyler Graovac who I thought played well again tonight despite his so-so -1 Corsi. Let’s go ahead and look at some of the other Caps’.
Four of the top six forwards are on the bottom of this list. Alex Ovechkin and Brett Connolly were the two worst forwards tonight while Kuznetsov wasn’t much better, he finished the night at -5. Backstrom and Burakovsky were also off tonight and if you throw in Oshie’s -4 that line was a combined -18.
Yes it is only preseason but it would be nice if we could look at some players and say what a great preseason they have had. Five games in I don’t think we can say that.
Special teams also weren’t great against the Devils specifically early when the Devils got three early power plays and cashed in on all three. The power play came up empty in just two opportunities, though it did look dangerous especially the top unit.
Faceoffs was one of the few areas the Capitals look really good on for most of the night. Washington finished winning just 53% of the faceoffs but that was thanks to a 6-19 third period. The Caps won 64% in the first period and 61% in the second. As for individuals.
To go along with those guys, Burakovsky won 2-3, Boyd was just 1-3, Graovac was 1-1 and Vrana and Oshie were both 0-1.
Holtby was solid tonight for about 40 or 45 minutes. The first goal against courtesy of Devils rookie Nico Hischier just 2:21 into the game was a weak one. We’ve seen Holtby save the shot Will Butcher scored on just about 2:30 minutes later but I won’t blame him too much on that one.
Again, it is just preseason, but five games in I was expecting this team and at least some players on the Caps to look ready to go. If they aren’t they better hurry up, the season starts in a week from Thursday. Next game is on Friday at the Hurricanes, we’ll see you then.
By CJ Witt