Three months and a handful of hours to the day after winning the Stanley Cup, the Capitals were back on the ice Saturday afternoon, this time in their first game of the 2018 Prospect Showcase against the Nashville Predators. The Predators would notch the game winner late in the third period for the 5-4 victory.
As the age-old adage goes, “it’s just one game”, as there were many positives in this one for Capitals and Bears fans. Mason Mitchell, Brian Pinho, Shane Gersich and Max Kammerer all found the back of the net. Shane Gersich, Garrett Pilon, Alexander Alexeyev and Brian Pinho were the primary standouts for the Capitals.
GAME 1: CAPITALS VS. PREDATORS
After last year’s tournament was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, the Capitals Prospects we’re finally back on the ice for the 1:00 PM start at Germain Arena in Estero, Florida. The Capitals will close-out the three game showcase against the Predators in Tuesday.
New Hershey Bears head coach Spencer Carbery was behind the bench for the Capitals Prospects. The Capitals Lines for the first prospect game against the Nashville Predators prospects:
63-Gersich, 40-Pilon, 73-Ikonen
45-Jonsson-Fjallby, 64-Pinho, 71-Clark
49-Kammerer, 67-Sutter, 51-Roykas-Marthinsen
47-Malenstyn, 58-Florchuk, 54-Mitchell
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) September 8, 2018
Three players did not dress for today’s game: forward Mark Simpson and defensemen Alex Kannon-Leipert and Jonas Siegenthaler. Logan Thompson (invite) was the backup goalie.
Karl Taylor, who took command of Nashville’s top minor league affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, this past June, was behind the bench, along with assistant coaches Scott Ford and Greg Rallo. The lineup for the Predators prospects:
The Predators scored first, cashing in on their first shot at 1:28 of 1st. Samsonov made the initial save, but the Preds Blackwell knocked it home from the doorstep. However, the Capitals pulled even on a Mason Mitchell glove-side goal at 5:34, Connor Hobbs was credited with the primary assist.
The Capitals 2018 first round draft pick Alexander Alexeyev dropped the mitts with Nashville’s Olivier, standing up for defense partner Connor Hobbs after Hobbs was shaken up by an Olivier hit. Alexeyev would end up going down at the end of this tussle.
The first period concluded with the Caps and Preds even at 1-1, with each team going 0-for-1 on the power play. The Predators led in shots on goal 10-9.
Brian Pinho forced a turnover on a shorthanded forecheck, then cranked a slapper past the Nashville net minder to put the #Caps up 2-1 just past midpoint of second.
Shane Gersich made it 3-1 with 3:16 left in second, scoring on a one-timer from the left circle to finish off a pretty tic-tac-toe passing sequence.
The Predators made it a 3-2 game with just 13.7 seconds left in the middle frame. Yakov Trenin tipped a point shot past Samsonov.
The middle frame would close with the Capitals holding a 3-2 lead. The Capitals led in shots on goal 25-20 after 40 minutes of play.
The Predators scored two goals in the first five minutes of the third (17:18 and x) – the second of which came on a Preds power play (Mason Mitchell double-minor penalty), giving Nashville a 4-3 lead early in the final frame. Blackwell scored his,second tally of the game for the go ahead goal.
The Capitals tied it up on a Max Kammerer tip-in goal, at 4-on-4, with 6:27 left in the final frame, but Nashville answered back on an Olivier shorthanded breakaway to make it 5-4 Nashville, with 5:51 left. After the Caps countered to make it four all, Olivier, who had just finished serving a penalty, got a gift as he stepped out of the box to head in on a breakaway. Shots on goal were 29-29 with 5:51 remaining.
The Capitals had a 5-on-3 PP (Samsonov was then pulled for a 6-on-3) for more than a minute at end of third, but couldn’t tie it up, as the Predators prevailed 5-4. Lucas Johansen wrang one off of the cross bar in the final minute.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) September 8, 2018
Prospect games include a three-attempt shootout at the end of the game regardless of the score, to give goalies a bit of extra work, and for teams to assess shootout skills of certain players. Samsonov stopped 2 of 3, while the Capitals scored on 2 of 3 (Alexeyev and Kammerer scored, Gersich was denied.)
Game highlights are here.
- Odd fact of the day – Shane Gersich skated in his first prospect game after hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.
- Connor Hobbs was Captain. Shane Gersich and Lucas Johansen donned the “A”’s for the contest.
- Goaltenders Miroslav Svoboda and Niclas Westerholm split time in the Nashville net. Svoboda surrendered one goal in the first period, while Westerholm allowed three in the second half of the game before standing tall in the final minutes.
- The next game for the Capitals Prospects in Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. against the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects.
- Recap by Capitals Mike Vogel is here.
- Postgame interviews from the Capitals:
IMAGES FROM ESTERO