Jakub Vrana Ends 25-Game Goal Drought on the Big Stage

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Photo: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

25 games without a goal can be a hard slump to overcome for any hockey rookie. That was the drought Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals had coming into Saturday night’s Stadium Series game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Midway through the second period, Vrana was in the neutral zone watching the puck being played out of his defensive zone. 

Defenseman Dmitry Orlov poked the puck away from Mitchell Marner. Evgeny Kuznetsov grabbed it and flung the puck up the ice to Vrana. Suddenly an opportunity fell into his lap and he took full advantage. Vrana was all alone with only goaltender Frederik Anderson to beat. Vrana went five-hole right through Anderson’s legs.

“At first I was thinking the ice might be in a bad condition but it wasn’t that bad actually. Just had my head up and saw a little space next to his (Anderson’s) leg so I tried to do a quick, simple shot and thankfully it went in,” said Vrana.

The game was pretty much in hand with the Caps ahead 5-2 but this was more than just a goal for Vrana. This goal was Vrana’s first goal since Dec. 14 in a win over the Bruins. At the time of that tally before Christmas, it was Vrana’s 10th of the season. Since then it was a cycle of going into the lineup and out of the lineup. This was the perfect stage to end the slump with nearly 30,000 Caps fans looking on as well as in front of millions of hockey fans watching from home.

“That was a big relief for me. I was waiting for a goal many games. That was nice to have that feeling to score a goal again,” said Vrana.

“On the bench I said to him ‘you got the monkey off your back’. He had the biggest smile. He looked up. I know he’s been playing really well for us, he just hasn’t got the result. He’s a young guy and a goal like that is huge for him and his confidence and I think he’s gonna hopefully have a good streak here,” added Capitals head coach Barry Trotz.

Vrana’s confidence will be key in this upcoming stretch that the Capitals will be on. They’ll head to California for three games on the road at Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. The Capitals lost all three of those contests last season but coming off a thrilling win over Toronto outside as well as getting a big goal from one of their young guns gives them momentum heading into this trip.

“Just gonna keep going now. Got some confidence from that and now just gonna keep going into the next games,” said Vrana.

By Michael Marzzacco

 

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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13 Responses to Jakub Vrana Ends 25-Game Goal Drought on the Big Stage

  1. Everything with the youngsters on this team pivots on the amount of PT they get. Other than with Kuznetsov, Trotz is notoriously inconsistent and illogical with his PT decisions regarding the newbies on his roster…Chandler Stephenson scores two goals against the Flyers and then gets no minutes to develop his game in the games immediately after that… Brett Connolly scores two goals against the New Jersey Devils a few weeks ago and he doesn’t get rewarded for it with more ice time even though his fourteen goals came with a 25% shooting percentage at the time….for that matter, Connolly, Eller and Burakovsky don’t get the PT their talents suggest they should even when the first two lines are turning over the puck, not generating offense and screwing up on defense…

    But such is the weird thinking of coach Trotz…Unless you’re one of his faves you won’t see much ice time. But if you are then you’ll get second, third and fourth chances no matter how poor your play has been (see Holtby, Backstrom who’s often disappeared for long stretches of games for the past three years, Orlov who still makes stupid mistakes, ditto for Orpik–don’t even get me started about HIM…and so on…)

    End,
    Clifford
    Sta. Monica

    Like

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