The Capitals dropped to 0-2 on the preseason with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday night. It was the first preseason showing of year for most of the Capitals in the lineup. Here are a few of the takeaways from the contest:
— The Hendricks-Halpern-Beagle line is something that could end up sticking together. Of course, there are spots and minutes still to be won in training camp, but that potential fourth-line trio played a large role in the Capitals having a 12-3 edge in shots in the first period. And there’s no denying the collective amount of hustle in that particular combination, either.
“They controlled the play, I thought, especially in the first period; it was a 1-1 tie but we outshot them 12-3,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Other than their goal, they didn’t have too much, they didn’t have it in our zone too much, which is what you want that fourth line to be doing. You want them to get out there and you want them to be an energy line and control that puck and do all those things for you.”
— Even with all of the accolades, Dmitry Orlov is still young. While the praise heaped on the young defenseman is warranted and there’s a good chance he’ll visit Washington at some point this season should injuries accumulate on the blueline, Orlov is still a developing 20-year-old.
Against the Blue Jackets there were a few times that the veteran foes caught Orlov out of position in his own end. It’s part of that high-risk, high-reward style Orlov has, and learning how to control it, along with when to take the chances in the North American game, is something that he’s still learning.
— Whether on the power play or at even strength, probably a safe bet to expect Joel Ward’s presence in front of opposing nets and working down low in the offensive zone. Ward is the type of winger who can create something out of nothing in the corners when fighting off foes to maintain puck possession, and that’s what happened several times against Columbus.
It was a fragmented lineup against the Blue Jackets, but as Boudreau mentioned last night, it will be interesting to see how the Capitals use size to their advantage once the NHL roster is fully assembled.
— Keep an eye on Mattias Sjogren’s faceoffs. It’s not a large sample size, but in scrimmages and in Columbus, Sjogren has shown to be much more comfortable with faceoffs in North America and won 11 of 17 Wednesday night. It might be the fact that he has a bigger frame and tends to use his strength to out-muscle an opponent away from the puck, but I’m curious to see if he can adapt to the NHL style of faceoffs quicker than either Nicklas Backstrom or Marcus Johansson did when they first came to the Capitals.