Prospect Notes: Capitals at Devils – Connor McMichael Strikes, Tobias Geisser Solid On Backend

The Washington Capitals continued their 2021 pre-season schedule on Monday night with a visit to New Jersey to take on the Devils at the Prudential Center. This was the fourth of six tuneup games on the Capitals preseason schedule. The Devils would take this one, 4-1.

Once again the Capitals faced a mostly-veteran Devils lineup, while the Capitals utilized the game to get another look at several prospects.

Previous Prospect Preseason Game Notes

Starting Lineup

The Capitals started nine prospects in this game. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the fourth preseason game against the Devils:

Connor McMichael centered the second line in tonight’s tilt, while Hendrix Lapierre started at the third line center position. The two players were switched in the previous game against the Devils on September 29.

Lines were shuffled beginning early in the first frame.

Player Reports

Connor McMichael
Pos: 2C
Toi: 14:43
Goals: 1
Assists: 0
Plus/Minus: 0

McMichael was relatively quiet in the first period. Early in the second period he and Daniel Sprong had a nice 2-on-1 rush, but McMichael was unable to finish.

McMichael finally broke through with a nasty roof job to get the Capitals on the scoreboard. It would be the Capitals only goal of the game.

McMichael had three shots on goal, tied with Daniel Sprong for team lead. He had no hits and one blocked shot. McMichael had 2:03 of power play time. He was 5 for 11 in faceoffs. Trending: Up

Hendrix Lapierre
Pos: 3C
Toi: 16:14
Goals: 0
Assists: 1
Plus/Minus: -1

Lapierre was called for the game’s first penalty (interference) less than three minutes into the contest, but the Devils power play was nullified by their own penalty one minute later. Lapierre was a little less noticeable in this game, when compared to his previous two games, as the level of competition continues to increase. He was slow on the backcheck on the Devils second goal.

Lapierre was credited with an assist on McMichael’s snipe, Lapierre’s fifth assist of the preseason, however he was on the ice for both of the Devils first two goals and a -1 for the game. Lapierre had one shot on goal, no hits and one blocked shot. Lapierre had 3:07 of power play time. He was 2 for 7 in faceoffs. Trending: Same.

Beck Malenstyn
Pos: 4LW
Toi: 16:02
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Plus/Minus: 0

Malenstyn was all over the ice again. He did what he does. Bang bodies on the fore- and backcheck. He’s setting up to be a real contender for a bottom six position when the Capitals need it. He led the team again in hits (5) and had one shot on goal. He had one blocked shot. Trending: Same

Aliaksei Protas
Pos: 3LW
Toi: 15:22
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Plus/Minus: 0

Protas had a very nice toe-drag move in the first frame, dodging a Devils defenseman for a quality scoring chance.

Protas once again looked fairly comfortable with the speed of the game and the rink size. He had a nice pass to Lapierre late in the third period.

Protas has been involved in the play and done well with his assignments, both in the offensive zone and defensive zone. His reads and decision-making were fairly sound for a player with his experience. Protas had one shot on goal, no hits and no blocked shots. I still wish he’d hit somebody, as he has no hits this preseason. He also had very low hits in the KHL last season. He had 1:31 of power play time. Trending: Up

Garrett Pilon
Pos: 1RW
Toi: 16:29
Goals: 0
Assists: 1
Plus/Minus: 0

Pilon was called for the Capitals second penalty of the game, but there were no damages done. Pilon had an assist on the McMichael goal. He had two shots on goal, no hits and one blocked shot. A quieter game overall for Pilon. He had 2:34 of power play time. Pilon was 2 for 4 in faceoffs. Trending: Same

Brian Pinho
Pos: 4RW
Toi: 13:45
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Plus/Minus: 0

Pinho had another quiet game. He had no shots, no blocks and no hits in 13:45 of ice time. Pinho had 1:29 of penalty kill time. Pinho was 1 for 2 in faceoffs. Trending: Down

Martin Fehervary
Pos: 1LD
Toi: 11:56
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Plus/Minus: 0

Fehervary did well in early four-on-four play, shutting down a rush up the left side by Miles Wood. However, he was on the ice for the only goal of the period as a Devils player got around him on the edge.

Fehervary would not return for the third period. The Capitals said he left the game with an upper body injury. Fehervary had :55 seconds of penalty kill time. Trending: Same

Alex Alexeyev
Pos: 1LD
Toi: 19:02
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Plus/Minus: 0

Alexeyev made a nice play on a Devils 2-on-1 rush midway through the first period, breaking up the play.

However, moments later he would fumble a puck at the Devils blueline, causing a turnover. Alexeyev was called for the Capitals third penalty of the game, but there were no damages. Alexeyev looked a little sloppy with his puck management in the second period, fumbling a few passes and fanning on a shot attempt in the middle frame. Probably nerves. Alexeyev had one shot on goal, one hit and one blocked shot. He had :12 seconds of power play time and 2:04 on the penalty kill. Trending: Same

Tobias Geisser
Pos: 2LD
Toi: 18:07
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Plus/Minus: -1

Geisser looked very competent, once again. The speed of the game or change in rink size does not seem to phase him. He had a number of quality zone exits early in the contest. He turns and burns. He made an excellent defensive play, breaking up a Devils 2-on-1 in the middle frame. Geisser saw good minutes on the Capitals penalty kill and looked solid. His reads and decision-making have been pretty good in the two preseason games he’s,played. He had no shots on goal, no hits and one blocked shot. Geisser had 1:54 on the penalty kill. Trending: Up

Advanced Stats

The following graphic presents the corsi for percentages (CF%), scoring chances for percentages (SCF%) and expected goals for percentages (xGF%) for each of the Capitals prospects that played in the first preseason game.

Pilon and Lapierre led Capitals prospects in possession metrics. Protas was once again third in xGF%.

The Capitals are back on the ice on Wednesday when they visit the Bruins in Boston. They will wrap-up their preseason schedule on Friday when they host the Flyers at Capital One Arena.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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