The Washington Capitals treated their fans last night to a historical game in the home opener of the season. Alex Ovechkin became the first player since 1917 to score two consecutive hat tricks in back-to-back games. Nathan Walker was also the first Australian-native to play in the NHL and scored a goal in his first appearance. Everything clicked in D.C. last night and the Capitals intend on bringing that same heat to Tampa where their next game is on Monday.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Capitals’ top two lines have been established and set in stone, which consist of:
The mystery that lies ahead is the very flexible third and fourth forward lines. The third for the past two games have consisted of Brett Connolly, Lars Eller, and Alex Chiasson. Connolly and Eller are basically locked in for that line, but once Tom Wilson serves his suspension, where does that put Chiasson? If his play stays consistent, he could be pushed to the fourth line with Jay Beagle and Devante Smith-Pelley. If he does get pushed down, that would mean Tyler Graovac and Nathan Walker would be the healthy scratched forwards. There is a lot of potential and talent within Graovac and Walker, so the bottom 6 forwards will have to stay on their ‘A’ game.
The third defensive pair of Aaron Ness and Taylor Chorney looked pretty solid last night, despite the fact that the Montreal Canadiens were helping them display their talent. Chorney, on the right side, utilizes his poke checking ability very well on the opposite side of where he usually is. Ness brings that speed and offensive awareness to the blue line as well. I feel that there can be improvements, for I saw Ness still getting beat on the half wall and Chorney having to cover down for him. If Ness doesn’t tighten up, we could see a debut from Christian Djoos here pretty soon. Until then, Djoos remains the healthy scratched defenseman for Washington.
Saturday night surely was a sight for sore eyes and a statement proving once again that the Washington Capitals are still a team to be reckoned with and that they are still a Stanley Cup contending team.