It only took Dmitry Orlov until his second game to register his first career NHL point – and his first what-just-happened major hit.
Orlov assisted on Nicklas Backstrom’s second-period goal and delivered a perfect hip check on Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler.
“I feel really good. I’m really happy. I’m very happy that the team won. I’m very happy that Nick [scored], and one of them was my assist,” Orlov said through an interpreter. “So I’m just really happy with the team.”
Orlov made the pass to set up Backstrom’s goal (Troy Brouwer touched the puck in between). But it was the hit on Wheeler just inside the Capitals’ offensive zone that had everyone talking.
“It was a great hit,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He can hit. He’s going to catch some people by surprise. The more comfortable he gets of standing up and hitting guys, because he’s a really solid guy. He’s not small, he’s just not tall.”
Orlov is listed at 6-foot and 210 pounds and brings a physical element to his game to go along with an offensive upside.
“That physical side is something that everybody needs to do,” defenseman Jeff Schultz said. “I think it kind of surprises everybody.”
So does his ability to adjust to the NHL so quickly. He’s still only 20 years old but doesn’t seem like ti.
“I think he’s been playing real good, and he’s moving the puck good – he’s skating, he’s hitting,” Backstrom said. “If you look at him out there, I don’t think it looks like he played his second game. It looks like he’s been playing a hundred games.”
The second period was Orlov’s showcase, what with the assist and big hit.