Caps Week 1 Rewind

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Posted October 18, 2015

Oshie! (Caps Outsider)

The Washington Capitals opened the season with a four-game home stand, facing the New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, and the Carolina Hurricanes. The Caps went 3-1, scoring at least four goals in each win, while getting blown out 5-0 against the Sharks.

Some big questions going into the season were the penalty kill, Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Orpik‘s health, and of course, how the offseason moves affect the team.

First the PK: It’s fine. Yes, we lost some of our best penalty killers in Eric Fehr, Joel Ward, and Troy Brouwer, but Tom Wilson, in his expanded roll, is fitting in. In addition, Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie are filling in nicely. With Backstrom returning, and Oshie always being a threat, do not be surprised if the Caps semi-regularly score shorthanded, something that they haven’t been known for in previous seasons. The PK is 84.6% so far this season.

On to the offseason injuries: No issue. Orpik was back in time for game 1, and Backstrom recovered nicely and only missed 3 games.

Now, the offseason acquisitions. Great job Brian MacLellan! Oshie has done plenty in the first four games. He has two goals, both on the power play, and has two assists. Williams has two assists and will only get more as he plays with either Backstrom or Evgeny Kuznetsov. Taylor Chorney has played well in the two games he has played in.

Observations: The Caps are weak against fast teams. The Sharks dominated the Caps. Yes, I know the Caps were without Ovechkin, but San Jose just looked too fast for them, and the addition of Backstrom and Ovechkin don’t necessarily make the difference.

Barry Trotz is an amazing coach. Ovechkin did not play against the Sharks because he missed the morning skate after he overslept. Great job by Trotz benching Ovechkin for that. In game 3 of the season, it sets an early precedent.

On the power play, I have noticed something new. When the puck is at the point, the guy who would be down low moves up to set a screen. This generates more chances from the point as the puck is harder to see for goalies and it also creates more chances at getting a deflection. Marcus Johansson has been good at doing that so far.

At the age of 36, Jason Chimera still has amazing speed. In the first game of the year he used that speed of his to score while shorthanded.

The defensemen are getting really involved offensively this season. When the Caps are cycling in the offensive zone many times I have seen a defender sneak in and get a quality chance. Even without Green, expect good production from the back end this season.

Lastly, the top line of Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Oshie has amazing chemistry. With Ovechkin on the ice, most defenders will overcommit, leaving Oshie open. With Kuznetsov on the top line, it makes our second line, Johanson, Bsckstrom and Williams, another dominant line. We have seen what Ovechkin and Backstrom have done in the past, but I like what I have seen from Kuznetsov, Ovechkin, and Oshie so far. If that line struggles, you can always put Backstrom back up there. I ask you, who do you think the top line center should be?

Who should be the first line center?

  • Kuznetzov (68%, 15 Votes)
  • Backstrom (32%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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