Careless d-zone puck management
Though the Capitals had a few good chances in the first five minutes of the first period, the puck management in the defensive zone was poor. Rasmus Sandin and John Carlson struggled the most in that category. Early in the second period, that poor puck management cost them, when Lucas Johansen failed to get the puck out of the zone and Daniel Sprong capitalized on a partial breakaway.
There were less giveaways as the game went on, but it is still something the Caps need to clean up before the regular season.
The Capitals had 20 giveaways in the game.
Power play looks different
The Caps got their first power play of the game at the 15:47 mark of the first. It looked way different compared to years prior. Washington had two high-quality looks on its first man-advantage because of quick puck movement.
T.J. Oshie went from the bumper position to below the goal-line, switching with Nicklas Backstrom. Oshie fed the puck to Backstrom in the slot, but Alex Lyon came up with the pad save. Then a wide-open Oshie rang a backhand shot off the crossbar.
— Capitals Replays (@capsreplays) September 28, 2023
The Caps got another power play in the third period. They got more chances. Oshie and Backstrom continued to rotate spots and got more looks. The second unit came on the ice towards the end of the man-advantage and got rewarded. Hopefully the power play continues to pay dividends this season.
The kids come through
Rookie forwards Ivan Miroshnichenko and Andrew Cristall were very impressive in Thursday’s contest. Miroshnichenko especially looked strong. He was creating chances on the forecheck, playing physical and was rewarded with the secondary assist on the Backstrom goal. He also had a good scoring chance in the third, but Sebastian Cossa shut him down.
Though Cristall wasn’t as bullish as the Russian forward, he held up well in his first pro game. He had the primary assist on Sandin’s power-play tally in the third.
By Jacob Cheris