Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
New recruit Richard Panik notched his first goal as a Capital in last night’s 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Panik, who scored deep into the third period, may be new to the Capitals, but with 10 years of experience, he is still no stranger to the NHL.
Coach Reirden told the media after the game he was happy with Panik as a player and seemed pleased to have that milestone checked-off during Panik’s first outing in a Capitals jersey. “Even though it’s not a regular season game and they’re not first year pros” Reirden said, “it’s still kind of a fun challenge and exciting time for them [Radko Gudas and Panik] coming to a new team.
In addition to his score, Panik had ample opportunity – 4:42 minutes to be exact — to impress on the penalty kill, a significant weakness for the Capitals during the 2018-2019 season. Of the six penalty kills required last night, only former Capital Zach Sanford was able to capitalize on the Blues man-advantage while Panik was off the ice.
Panik reported that he felt comfortable on the PK despite the lack of time to go through the Capitals PK system. While Panik is unsure of his future line pairing, he reported feeling good playing with Carl Hagelin, “He’s a really fast player,” Panik said, “and he’s where he’s supposed be”.
With Panik’s inaugural performance, it was clear that Reirden believes this was a good start to the season and hopefully, closing the gap in the Capitals penalty kill. “I haven’t seen him a ton over the last little bit when he’s been in the west” said Reirden, “but he’s someone that we targeted this summer and I think our management did a great job of finding that player”. Reirden continued, “We knew that he’d be able to provide some really solid two-way hockey and that he seemed good in all situations today, ALL situations”.
ICYMI: Richard Panik, three years removed from a career-best 22-goal season, is making his preseason debut for the Caps tonight vs the Blues.
“Washington is an offensive team, so there are going to be plenty of opportunities and I have to execute them.” https://t.co/gJmWHF3cmU
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) September 18, 2019
By Stephanie Judge