Top 3 key Capitals to watch against Red Wings preseason

Hunter Shepard, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Hunter Shepard, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

We’re still shaking off the offseason rust here at Stars and Sticks. We like to breakdown each game before and after the game from as many angles as we can. That’s just how we roll when it comes to Washington Capitals coverage whether you love us or hate us.

So for this exercise we’ll look at three key players to watch tonight. We usually do these in slideshow format but today it’ll be one page as we continue to shake off the rust.

So which players should you keep an eye on tonight and why:

#3 Anthony Mantha: Mo, as his teammates call him, recorded an assist in Washington’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Sabres and tonight will make his second preseason game appearance. He returns to old territory where he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round at 20th overall in 2013. He is due for a big year to silence his critics.

#2 Hunter Shepard: The Calder Cup winning goalie gets to play in all 60 minutes of tonight’s game. In 31:34 of work in Sunday’s preseason opener, Shepard stopped all 18 shots that he faced. The 27 year old appeared with 33 games with the Hershey Bears last season. He went 20-8-5 with a 2.18 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and one shutout in the regular season.

#1 Aliaksei Protas: The Viper is due for a big role on the fourth line if he can secure it out of training camp. He could even play on the third line if needed. Protas recorded 15 points with four goals and 11 assists in 58 games with the Caps last season. He established career highs in each of those categories as well as shots with 83. Listed as six foot six and 235 pounds, he’s way bigger when you are near him.

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The game starts at 7 p.m. and you can catch it on Monumental Sports Network.