Dmitry Orlov’s NHL debut Monday night in the Capitals’ 4-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes wasn’t perfect. But everyone knew what to expect out of the 20-year-old.
As Karl Alzner said, Orlov is going to be mistakes, something that’s part of the learning process. He made one that cost the Caps a goal Monday, as the puck deflected in off his skate. And though he was hard on himself, according to Slava Malamud of the Russian news agency Sport-Express, his teammates and coach glowed about Orlov’s performance.
“I was very happy with him,” Bruce Boudreau said. “He looked very composed. I thought he did a great job, he really did. He didn’t try to do too much in his first game.”
Orlov finished with a largely uneventful 11:56 and an even rating. He was out there for John Carlson’s goal that happened just after the power play expired, which helped him out statistically for his rookie mistake on Lauri Korpikoski’s third-period goal.
“He’s obviously a great player. He’s highly talented. And he skates out there and he’s a good player. He came into the lineup tonight, and I thought he had a great game.”
The idea, players always say, is to keep it simple. Orlov did. He attempted just one shot – it sailed wide – and he generally made the safe, simple play.
More will come with him. But for now, that’s all the Caps wanted out of Orlov.
“He stayed back. There was probably times he was itching to jump in, but he played it smart,” Boudreau said. “He took a lot in in the last 24 hours, all in English, and played it pretty well.”