It might have been a rookie game with an outcome that holds little bearing on the future of either franchise, but you couldn’t tell that by watching Capitals defensive prospect Dmitry Orlov as time ticked away in the third period of a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Orlov, 20, created several scoring chances late in the contest, had a shot ring off the crossbar and forced Philadelphia netminder Michael Houser to thwart another laser shot with a snappy glove save.
“There’s risk-reward in everything he does but offensively he can make plays that other players aren’t capable of. I think that was evident late in the game,” said Hershey Bears Coach Mark French, who directed the rookies in Philadelphia on Thursday. “He’s got that ability to rise at those special moments, he brings a coach on the edge of his seat and he does some things that are special.”
Perhaps more important, though, was how poised the Russian blue-liner was in an environment that, thanks to a vocal crowd at Wells Fargo Center, was unlike any other rookie game between these two clubs thus far. Orlov matched the Flyers’ physicality, dishing out a few solid checks of his own, and patrolled the point on the top power-play unit.
Orlov will continue to learn, of course, particularly when picking his spots to join the rush or lay a big hit on an opponent. But the confidence he possesses on the ice is also one of his biggest assets.
“He’s got some things to learn as he jumps into the play a little bit,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But he has the jam to do it — a lot of guys wouldn’t have the guts to jump in when he does, but he does, and he’s ready to do it. When he learns to control all that he’s going to be really good.”
Be sure to check back tomorrow for more on the rookie game as everyone gears up for the start of main training camp on Saturday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.