Capitals vs. Canadiens: Takeaways From 4-3 Shootout Win

Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals got an impressive 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. What can Caps fans take from the win?

The Washington Capitals got their second preseason win of the year on Thursday as they beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in a shootout. There were a lot of encouraging things that happened. There were also some concerning things that happened. Let’s look at what Capitals fans can take away from the preseason game.

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The Caps got a lot of offense in the game. The offense came exclusively from the top two forward lines. Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, and Andre Burakovsky each scored goals in regulation. Oshie also added the lone shootout goal. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jason Chimera each added an assist. Justin Williams had two assists. If the Capitals can get their top two forward lines scoring, it’s going to be very difficult to beat them.

The first two forward lines did well. However, the bottom two forward lines struggled a bit. Derek Roy had two penalties and wasn’t able to generate offense lie he did against the Carolina Hurricanes. Jakub Vrana wasn’t impressive either. Chris Brown did nothing noteworthy excluding getting into a fight. The fourth line was virtually non-existent. The top two forward lines were excellent, which helped overcome the bottom two forward lines not doing much. The Caps will be much better off if they can go with four strong forward lines like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks did last season.

Dan Ellis was once again very solid in relief of Braden Holtby. Ellis is still most likely going to be the Hershey Bears starting goaltender since the Caps have Philipp Grubauer. That doesn’t mean that Ellis has no value to the Caps. It’s nice to know that if Holtby or Grubauer get injured, the Capitals have a perfectly capable goalie in Ellis waiting in Hershey.

Barry Trotz did a very fascinating thing during three-on-three overtime. He started with two defensemen and one forward. Trotz is a head coach who preaches being “safe”. This is probably not the last time that we’ll see the two defensemen and one forward lineup during overtime. Considering that Trotz has no fewer than two shootout experts (Oshie and Kuznetsov) and an elite goaltender (Holtby), playing it safe in overtime might not be a bad idea. Trotz is still experimenting with lineups during overtime. He has a plethora of options.

The Capitals allowed the game to get a bit too chippy. That didn’t work in their favor. Their penalties in the first and second periods allowed the Canadiens to get scoring opportunities. The Caps dominated the game at even strength. They’ve got to stay out of the box. Even though their penalty kill did an excellent job, the Capitals had momentum numerous times and penalties caused that momentum to stop.

The Caps played a solid game against Montreal. Their next preseason game is next Tuesday.