Todd Reirden is Searching for Chemistry on the Third and Fourth Line
CAPITAL ONE ARENA — One thing was clear during the Capitals championship run last season – everyone contributed. But so far this season the secondary scoring has been lacking.
Including today’s game, eleven of the Capitals 21 skaters (over 50 percent) have only one point or less so far this season. Many of these eleven are in team’s bottom-six, including Andre Burakovsky (0 points) and Devante Smith-Pelly (1 point).
Smith-Pelly’s offense in the team’s championship run last season was crucial to their success and it seemed as though he had turned a corner in his development. But this season while playing in all six games he only has one assist and is a minus-one on the ice.
And Burakovsky’s situation seems even more desperate. During last season’s playoffs Andre only accumulated six points and 25 during the whole season. His career with Washington has been plagued by slumps and this season doesn’t seem to be off to a good start. Even on tonight’s game-winning overtime goal Burakovsky was unable to get a point.
In today’s post-game interview, Todd Reirden told me, “we have to continue to get scoring depth-wise if we want to be successful in this league – that’s where everything is headed. You can’t rely on your top guys every night. We’ll continue to focus on finding the right chemistry with that third and fourth line to be able to give us some added offense there as well.”
But luckily, so far this season the Capitals top players have been red-hot. Right now, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson all have six points or more in just as many games. Ovechkin and Kuznetsov by themselves have incredible combined 18 points in just six games.
Tonight, Ovechkin was inches away from another career hattrick, and Backstrom is only two points away from reaching 600 and becoming the league’s 87th player to do so.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) October 18, 2018
The fact remains that the Capitals are going to need guys like Burakovsky, Smith-Pelly and Bowey to step up their game in order to help ensure the long-term success of this team.
By Charlie DiPasquale