The beauty of the first few preseason games, for those of us who love following and studying the future of the Capitals, is that the games provide plenty of opportunity to see the Capitals rookies and prospects in near NHL-level action. Sunday’s first preseason game in Boston was no different, as no less than 12 prospects were in the lineup for the Capitals against the Bruins. (The game recap can be found here).
For those watching football on Sunday, here’s how the Capitals prospects fared in their first NHL action of the fall. If there isn’t a summary for a player, then there was nothing really notable to report. We also didn’t summarize Caps roster players. (Burakovsky, Djoos, Vrana, Stephenson). Nic Dowd, Shane Gersich, Madison Bowey and Alexander Alexeyev did not dress for the game.
Pheonix Copley – Copley started in net for the Caps and played the first half of the game. Bruins hit two pipes in the first five minutes of the first period, but Copley settled in nicely as the period progressed. He made a nice stop on a Bruins breakaway, showing good positioning for the initial stop, and also covered the rebound. He did give up a goal late in the period on a blast from the slot. He stopped 13 of 14 shots in the opening frame. Copley made a good stop on another breakaway after a Capitals defensive goof early in the middle frame. Copley left the game with 7:45 remaining in the middle frame. He stopped 21 of 22 shots for a .954 save percentage. Grade: B+/A-
Vitek Vanecek – Vanecek entered the game with 7:45 remaining in the middle frame and stopped 3 of 3 shots to close out the second period. Vanecek was solid in net for the third period as well, making two game-saving saves. He made all eight stops in the final frame, stopping 11 of 11 in regulation. Vanecek stopped 2 of 3 attempts in the shootout. Grade: B+
Jayson Megna – Showed good defensive skills on the first periods only penalty kill, and generated a breakaway, demonstrated excellent speed, but couldn’t finish. Somewhat reminiscent of another Jason (Chimera). Showed good tenacity on and around the puck, and played on the PK. Megna is currently third on our list to replace Beagle on the 4th line, behind Nic Dowd and Travis Boyd, but the right-handed center/draw of a Megna is very enticing for Caps management. Grade: B
Tyler Lewington – Caps defense played well as a unit, including Lewington. Tyler dropped the mitts at 15:26 of the opening frame and took the decision. Lewington looked solid on the backend, played on the PK as well, which was 4 for 4 against the Bruins man-advantage.. Grade: B
Jonas Siegenthaler – Solid effort from Siggy. He looked much more relaxed than last preseason, and was well positioned on the backend for most of the game. No real positioning blunders in the game. Was paired with Christian Djoos for the entire game. Also played well on the Capitals penalty kill. Siegenthalers game has improved since last September. Grade: B
Garrett Pilon – Showed excellent game and ice awareness, made a nice feed on two occasions, surprising each Caps player on the receiving end. Looked a notch above at times. He was called for a penalty late. (Tripping, Caps 4th of the game). Grade: B-
Martin Fehervary – Not a bad first outing for the youngster. Was paired with Tyler Lewington for the entire game. Turned the puck over a couple of times early on, probably due to nerves. Lost a puck on the back check which almost cost the Caps, but all-in-all, the 18 year-old didn’t seem out-of-place. Grade: B-
Brian Pinho – Average outing for Pinho. Called for the Caps third penalty of the game. Played on the PK and did well. He had no shots on goal for the game. Next game will be big for Pinho. Grade: C+
Next preseason game is Tuesday at Capital One Arena, when the Caps host the very same Bruins.
By Jon Sorensen