Caps Hope to Stay Hot vs. Panthers

Posted October 17, 2014

Joel Ward was one of the goal scorers on Thursday. (Caps Outsider)

Your Washington Capitals (2-0-2, 6pts) won their second game of the 2014-2015 season Thursday night against the previously unbeaten New Jersey Devils (3-1-0, 6pts) in a convincing 6-2 fashion. As the offense clicked on all cylinders all four lines contributed in this one, as the goals for the Caps came from Alex Ovechkin (who was pictured with Brad Pitt at the premiere of “Fury” on Wednesday night), Chris Brown (who gave the Caps their first lead of the game), Marcus Johansson (who gave the Caps the lead for good), Nicklas Backstrom (who now has a chance to get his 500th career point in his 500th NHL game on Saturday), Joel Ward, and Andre Burakovsky (who is making a name for himself). The offense isn’t the only thing Caps fans should be pleased about after this rout. Goalie Braden Holtby had a bounce back game from his horrific performance on Tuesday night, when he allowed three goals on only seven shots. Another note from this game is that John Carlson played in his 300th consecutive game, most in Caps history for a defenseman.

I was personally impressed with how effective and successful the line changes implemented by coach Barry Trotz were in this game. It is also great that Caps are now scoring in bunches which gives the netminder a greater confidence, as seen by Holtby’s play in this one. I am also glad to see the Caps move into a tie with New Jersey for 2nd in the Metropolitan Division.

The Caps end their three-game home stand at the Verizon Center Saturday night against the Florida Panthers (0-2-1, 1pts) who play at Buffalo Friday night. I know a lot of fans will look at this matchup and assume that the Caps should win this one, but this is a trap game of sorts since the team is coming off of a great performance against a solid Devils team. The Caps need to go into this one with respect for the opponent, but at the same time focusing on what needs to be done to win.

Three things to watch are:

  1.  Will Trotz stick with Holtby in net after his improved performance or will backup Justin Peters be given another opportunity to gain valuable NHL experience?
  2. Will Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer continue their great play now that they are together on the first line?
  3. Can the Caps defense get their second shutout of the season as they face a Panthers team that only has three goals through three games on the season?