“Everyone Knew They Had To Step Up”: Capitals Express Full Team Effort In 3-0 Shutout Victory Over Predators

Photo: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals earned their first shutout victory of the 2022-23 season Saturday night, defeating the Nashville Predators 3-0 at Bridgestone Arena. It was a much-needed win for Washington and a strong effort carried out by every player after losing right-wing T.J. Oshie and defenseman John Carlson in the first period to lower-body injuries.

“Those are two big sets of skates to fill out there, and I thought everyone did a great job from the back-end up,” left-wing Beck Malenstyn, who scored his first goal of the season, said, adding, “Just making the right plays, smart decisions, getting pucks in…a full team effort for sure.”

“Everyone knew they had to step up,” right-wing Anthony Mantha said. “We played with the puck a little more instead of chasing. That made a big difference.”

He also emphasized that Oshie and Carlson’s absences lit a fire under the team, saying, “Everyone knows that they’re going to be kinda jumping from one end to the other and same with the [defense]. We need to be smart with the puck ’cause turnovers [are] just gonna create big non-shifts for our [defense]…everyone played an excellent game and [Kuemper] shut them down, so that’s awesome.”

“The guys did a great job in front of me, so it made my job a lot easier when you’re seeing pucks clean and everything like that you can kinda get into a rhythm,” goaltender Darcy Kuemper said, who stopped all 34 shots faced, marking his first shutout of the season and the 26th of his career. “The urgency to not give [the Predators] any life to get back in the game was a great job by everyone on the ice.”

Once again, the entire effort from everyone was critical. Kuemper explained, “It’s tough for the guys. They’re playing a lot more minutes and getting a lot less rest between shifts, especially with five [defensemen] there, but it takes a mature effort, a mature group to play the right way and make sure we’re not leaving anyone on the ice for too long and I think you saw that out of the group start to finish once we lost those guys. It’s a credit to everyone bounding together and playing the right way.”

The Capitals are looking to continue the momentum as they close out October with a Halloween clash against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday at PNC Arena (7 PM ET; NBC Sports Washington locally, NHL Network nationally).

“It gives us confidence in the future,” defenseman Dmitry Orlov remarked. “We almost played a full sixty minutes and it was important for us.” The 31-year-old blueliner expressed how the team “played for each other” and maintained a quick pace during shifts throughout Saturday’s game.

Center Aliaksei Protas, who scored his second goal of the season in the victory, said the Capitals “kept the puck alive” and “had pretty good chances,” but mentioned he feels they need to “get better” as they head into November, a month when they play six out of fourteen games on the road.

“I thought we played really well,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “You lose two players, one forward and one defenseman and it’s pretty early on in the game and you’re really juggling it for the rest of the game, so I thought our guys did a terrific job…we were putting a lot of minutes on guys and I thought they responded really well.”

He added that he was satisfied with the “directness of the game” the Capitals brought out along with the “decisions we made with the puck.” “A lot of positives from [last night],” Laviolette said.

Additionally, Saturday’s big win was Laviolette’s 722nd career victory and he is now tied with Alain Vigneault for the eighth-most wins in NHL history.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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6 Responses to “Everyone Knew They Had To Step Up”: Capitals Express Full Team Effort In 3-0 Shutout Victory Over Predators

  1. DWGie26 says:

    Caps path is (as it always has been) to play with size and net front presence. The third and fourth lines have gelled. Like Protas-Eller-Mantha a lot. Love Beck on the 4th line. Really need to figure out how to get those first two lines going. I wouldn’t mind trying MoJo on first line with Sheary and Snively on 2nd line (assuming Oshie is out). Also wouldn’t mind trying CMM as 2C and moving Strome to LW with Sheary or Mojo on right side.

    We have won 4 out of 6 and in the Dallas loss we looked pretty good but got stonewalled by hot goalie. Things seem to be settling in. We doing to have some bad games like every team but if you break it into 5 and 10 game stretches it is a better way to evaluate.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Eller brings nothing to that line. Turnover machine. Put Strome or CMC there.

    • DWGie26 says:

      You are absolutely crazy. Eller looks very strong on third line. Whole third line is clicking and is our best line. Right now, Eller is 3x the player that CMM is. 3C will take a big hit when we move on from Eller use CMM/Protas/Lapierre at that position for a year or two. If CMM was ready for that spot than he would earn it. He has not.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Eller maybe more experienced but not better. And no up side. Didn’t say it had to be CMC. And I am not crazy, my mom had me tested.

  4. novafyre says:

    Kuzy produced?

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