We are officially underway. The puck has dropped on the 2017-18 Washington Capitals season. After a subpar preseason the Capitals were looking for a good start to the regular season. They got it.
It wasn’t easy though. The Ottawa Senators scored first before Brett Connolly tied the game at 1-1 in the first period. After allowing a second period goal, the Caps’ allowed an early third period goal to go down 3-1.
It didn’t look good, but the Captain pulled the Capitals back into the game scoring two goals in 1:24. The Senators would score again to make it 4-3 but Ovechkin again tied it up to give himself the hat trick and send the game to OT and eventually the shootout where the Caps’s would win the game.
The Capitals really controlled the game for most of the night. At the end of the second period shot attempts were 43-28 in favor of Washington. Ottawa out attempted the Caps 26-17 in the third period and OT to pull the game more even finishing at 65-59. At five on five the game ended up 49-39 also in the Capitals favor.
Scoring chances ended up 20-19 on the Senators side.
A solid night for Orlov possession wise. In 26:06 of ice time he +11 in shot attempts. Jakub Vrana also had a good night in the shot attempts department but also had a good night in general, creating chances and generating a game high 5 shots on goal. He played 17:16.
The Caps’ second line of Backstrom, Burakovsky and Oshie registered 0 points and just 3 combined SOG’s but as you can see above had a good night in possession.
There were only two notable minuses tonight, Smith-Pelly who had a good first period but faded as the game went on was -5 with 11:54 of ice time and Jay Beagle was -7 in 13:13. Tyler Graovac the third fourth liner finished with 4 attempts for and 4 attempts against in 6:22 of ice time.
The Capitals did not start the game well at the faceoff dot. After the first period they were 6-14 for 43%. The next two periods however the Caps’ finished 58% and 67% respectively. They went just 1-5 in OT however and finished the game winning 53%.
Some good news, three of the Capitals four centermen finished over 50% at the dot. More good news, Kuznetsov and Backstrom really picked it up after the second period. Backstrom the lone guy under 50% was 4-12 after two periods meaning he was just 33%. Kuznetsov was 3-8 meaning he was 38%. As we can see Kuznetsov finished 3-3 and Backstrom finished 4-6.
Other faceoff totals, Chiasson finished 1-3, Oshie was 1-2, Graovac was 1-1 and Burakovsky was 0-1.
I think this was a really solid opening night for the Capitals. This was a Senators team that they had a lot of trouble with last season. They controlled the game for most of the game despite trailing by two goals early in the third period. They struggled to score goals vs Ottawa last season and they scored 4 goals tonight and 3 goals in the third period.
The penalty kill was also good going 5/5 including a big kill in OT.
Holtby was pretty good I thought. The opening goal wasn’t very good at all, he was beat on the side boards at a tough angle but he rebounded and despite allowing 4 goals I thought he made some big saves.
A good come-from-behind win.
Hockey is back Caps fans. We’ll see you again on Saturday for the home opener vs the Montreal Canadiens.
By CJ Witt