Not everything is fixed – not by eking out a preseason shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Sept. 30. But Friday night’s game, at least in spurts, showed what the Capitals could do if putting together all the little things that they talk about.
That’s something that had been lacking in previous exhibition games, and it showed in Friday’s third period.
“We got the results in the third period, but I think a lot of it was because we worked hard in the first two periods,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But it was consistent for 60 minutes, which we hadn’t done. … It was important, I think, for us to get game legs and game shape for 60 minutes.”
Specifically, it’s worth pointing to the Caps crashing the net to score two of their three regulation goals. The first one was on the power play, a wrist shot by Alex Ovechkin. Mike Green got credit for poking the puck in, though even he admitted, “Thank God there’s no video replay.” The point is, just about everyone converged on the crease on the play.
“That’s what you need to do. It’s hard to score in this league and when you’re playing against Ryan Miller, it’s even harder,” Boudreau said. “So you better go to the net if you want to score – even though I think that puck was in before Mike touched it. Just a thought.”
The second, which tied the score at 3-3 midway through the third period, came as a result of Matt Hendricks tapping home a rebound of a shot by Green. Sure it’s just the preseason, but that set off a nice celebration at Verizon Center.
And it brought some smiles afterward about getting those kinds of goals.
“The pucks aren’t going to go in from one-timers anymore,” Green said. “They’re going in from rebounds and you have to get to those gray areas to make sure that we’re putting those in.”