We knew there would be some growing pains this year for the Capitals and Saturday we saw how real the problem is. Matt Niskanen is on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) and will be out for at least 10 games or 24 days. That was a blow to the blue line.
With Nisky out the door opened for Madison Bowey to finally see his NHL debut. We were pretty excited about it as we wrote Saturday. Unfortunately it was not as great a debut for him as it was for Hershey teammates Djoos and Walker. For example, he lost his stick and was outplayed by the Flyers which led to a goal by Wayne Simmonds. He ended the game a -3.
Bowey wasn’t alone with the defense struggles. John Carlson had two penalties for slashing, a turnover, and an assist. We need to see more consistency in his play. Brooks Orpik, with a -2 also recorded an assist. More consistency issues. Dmitry Orlov, while shooting at the net also had a -4. Awful for him. And Aaron Ness wasn’t really visible this game.
The Caps just couldn’t get the momentum to stop the fast skating and slick passing of the Flyers.
On the positive side, Christian Djoos was the only defenseman ending with a +1. Even when the Caps lost to Pittsburgh it was Djoos who stood out. Read more here.
- Nick Backstrom remains solid with a beauty of a goal- a five game streak with 11 points. And Jakub Vrana is finding his groove with a goal himself.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov now has 11 assists. We are ready for his first goal of the season!
All-in-all, it was a brutal game. The forwards didn’t seem to connect, the defense wasn’t where it needed to be, and Grubi had a few errors of his own. There were too many turnovers. All part of the process of a team early in the season that is adjusting to change. They have time to focus on those gaps in performance and right the ship.
Caps practice Monday, participate in a season ticket holder event, and practice again Tuesday before they meet the Maple Leafs at home at 7 pm.