While there was bound to be a number of prospects watched during the preseason, perhaps some of the most anticipated were the Capitals’ 2019 draft class, including centers Connor McMichael and Aliaksei Protas. With solid offensive production in the Ontario Hockey League, fans were eager to see how McMichael would fare in his first taste of NHL action, and with a hulking size as a center, likewise for Protas. Through not even two full periods of their first preseason game, both 2019 draftees have already found themselves on the scoresheet.
Down 1-0 at the start of the second, the Capitals were able to tie the game at 1-1 apiece, as a botched shot from Tyler Lewington found its way to McMichael, who, while nearly on his stomach, backhanded a pass to forward Damien Riat, who put the puck past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia for his first of the preseason at the 2:06 mark of the second period.
Protas would record a nifty assist of his own on a goal by Travis Boyd, who tied the game at the 7:06 mark to make it 2-2.
Protas would put the Capitals ahead momentarily 3-2, as he collected a rebound from his own shot past Delia at the 8:38 mark of the second frame on assists from Beck Malenstyn and DMV-area native Joe Snively.
The Blackhawks would tie it up just over four minutes later, and the two teams would head into the second intermission tied at 3-3, thanks in large part to two of the members of the team’s 2019 draft class, with one period and six more preseason contests left to go.
By Michael Fleetwood