Three games into the regular season and a picture of the Capitals is already emerging. While it’s still too early to determine exactly how the team will continue to evolve, we’ve seen at least three trends from their initial on-ice battles.
#1 Alex Ovechkin – He’s Still Got “IT”
Dejected and disheartened after another second round loss in the 2017 playoffs and a 33 goal season (his lowest since 2011) many fans and analysts were unsure if the 32-year old wing could survive in today’s younger and faster NHL. Ovechkin silenced the naysayers during the first period of the first game. One week in, after two hat tricks, seven goals and an NHL Star of Week Ovechkin has put the League and fans on notice that he is back with a fervor and hunger to win. A leaner Oveckin started this season with a vengeance and is easily on track to join the elite 19 members in the 600-goal Club.
— steph (@myregularface) October 9, 2017
#2 Jackob Vrana Filling an Offensive Void
Vrana, the right wing yin to Ovechkin’s yang, has earned three assists and taken six shots on goal. With less than 25 NHL games under his belt Vrana is proving to be a difference maker on the ice with line mates Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Vrana seems to be quickly finding his legs with the Capitals looking promising to be good filler for the second line deficits left by the departures of Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson over the summer.
#3 – Caps Goaltenders (both of them) are Awesome
In addition to the stellar goaltending provided by Zen-master Braden Holtby. Phillip Grubauer reminded fans during his season debut on Monday that he too is formidable in the net. His net minding prowess was evidenced when he staved off 11 of the 36 shots in the final, frenzied final two minutes of regular season play. Despite Grubauer’s near flawless performance the 3-1 lead the Capitals attained deep in the second eroded as the blueliners, who averaged over 20 minutes on ice each, because visibly tired, opening scoring lanes for the Bolts. With defensive pairings weakened by the Capitals summer player sell off, a strong back up goalie may prove vital to providing rest for star Braden Holtby so he can make deep runs during what could be highly competitive contests in February and March.