Capitals Clip Canes 4-3 to Win Final Preseason Contest

image0Screen cap: NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes by a final score of 4-3 at a packed PNC Arena in Raleigh on Sunday afternoon in their preseason finale. The Capitals finish the preseason with a record of 5-1. Goaltender Braden Holtby started the full game and made 27 saves in the win.

Capitals Lines at Hurricanes

Centers Lars Eller (upper-body) and Nic Dowd (minor ailment) were both rested by the Capitals to ensure that they will be good to go when the regular season begins. Captain Alex Ovechkin (lower-body maintenance) also sat out against the Hurricanes. The Capitals recalled forward Shane Gersich from the AHL’s Hershey Bears just prior to the game.

First Period

Center Sebastian Aho opened the scoring for the Hurricanes beating Holtby through the five-hole after getting a pass from forward Andrei Svechnikov, who was in the defensive zone, to give Carolina the lead  3:43 into the contest.

Forward Chandler Stephenson toe-dragged after getting a cross-rink pass from defenseman Radko Gudas to feed forward T.J. Oshie for a slam dunk at the goal crease and tie the game at 7:59 elapsed time.

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov fed forward Jakub Vrana with a cross-ice pass after getting goaltender Petr Mrazek to lean the other way. Vrana buried the feed into a wide-open net to make it 2-1 Capitals with 8:58 left in the period.

The Capitals led 14-5 in hits after one. They converted on one of their two power-play opportunities in the first.

The Hurricanes led 4-3 in blocked shots and 8-5 in takeaways after 20 minutes.

Each team recorded 12 shots, won 50% of the draws, and was credited with three giveaways through the first period.

Second Period

A series of five Carolina penalties sent to a parade of Hurricanes to the box and gave Washington a total of 3:08 of 5-on-3 power-play time. The Hurricanes defense limited the Capitals to just 3 shots on goal during that time, but Oshie took advantage of the situation and buried his second of the game, one-timing a cross-ice pass from center Nicklas Backstrom at the low left dot 7:24 into the second.

Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway laid down Hurricanes defenseman Roland McKoewen after a big open-ice hit with 8:27 left in the period. McKoewen was not pleased with the hit and invited Hathaway to dance. Both got five minutes for fighting.

The Hurricanes got two power plays of their own late in the period.  The first came with 4:31 left in the period when T.J. Oshie was called for slashing, but Carolina was unable to convert. The second came with 1:17 left when Tom Wilson was called for roughing against Warren Foegele. Officials tacked on a 10-minute misconduct against Wilson for unsportsmanlike conduct. Holtby held strong, keeping the Hurricanes at bay through the end of the period.

The Capitals again dominated in hits during the period, racking up 12 to just 2 for Carolina.

Washington tallied 3 blocked shots in the period while Carolina had 2, and the Capitals had 4 takeaways compared to 2 for the Hurricanes.

Even with five Carolina penalties, the Capitals managed just five shots for the period while Carolina got nine shots on goal.

Carolina pulled ahead in draws, ending the period with a 56% – 44% advantage. Washington had a single giveaway in the period compared to four for Carolina.

Third Period

The Hurricanes cut the Capitals lead to 3-2 just 1:28 into the period when Nino Niederreiter danced past Orlov and put a bullet past Holtby for the unassisted goal.

Washington regained a two-goal lead when Vrana put one over Mrazek’s shoulder after a beautiful feed from Stephenson at the 4:57 mark.

Aho scored his second of the game for Carolina 9:42 into the period, notching a power-play goal after Washington’s Richard Panik was sent to the box on a boarding call.

The Capitals took another penalty with 2:15 left when Wilson took a roughing call to give Carolina their fifth power-play. The Hurricanes pulled Mrazek with 1:30 left to give Carolina a two-man advantage but they were unable to score on the power-play and Washington held on for the win.

Carolina outshot the Capitals 30 to 23 for the game and dominated on faceoffs, winning 58% of the draws.

Washington had the advantage on the power-play, going 2 for 6 on the man-advantage while Carolina went 1 for 5.  The Capitals also tallied 34 hits compared to 14 for the Hurricanes and had 14 blocks to Carolina’s 8.

The Capitals have some difficult roster decisions to make over the next 48 hours. Teams must submit their 23-man roster to the league offices by 5:00 PM ET on Tuesday, and Washington has to cut both bodies and salary.

The Capitals begin the regular season on Wednesday night at the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. Action from Enterprise Center can be seen on NBCSN beginning at 8 PM ET.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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1 Response to Capitals Clip Canes 4-3 to Win Final Preseason Contest

  1. Pingback: Tom Wilson Says Canes’ Coach Chirped Him: A Look at the Gritty Final Preseason Tilt | NoVa Caps

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