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Postgame notes: Wilson, Roy find the net in Capitals’ preseason opener

Tom Wilson, second from right, kicked off the scoring with a blast off a feed from defenseman Christian Djoos. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
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Notes and observations from the Washington Capitals’ 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in their preseason opener Monday night.

No white jerseys stood within a stick’s reach of him in the slot, so when defenseman Christian Djoos’s feed reached Tom Wilson early into the third period, the forward had enough time to pivot, assess his target, cock back and fire.

“That’s where you score goals,” Wilson said, not long after his wrist shot whistled into the top-left corner, over the blocker pad of goaltender Drew MacIntyre. “I just finished watching [former teammate Joel Ward] for two years score a lot of his goals from there. I’ve got to take a page out of his textbook.”

It wasn’t just the location of the shot, Wilson added, but the patience that he hoped to borrow from Ward. Known for flying through the offensive zone, decking everything in his path, Wilson hoped to add a measure of calm this season to a bruising style. Now in his third year with the Capitals and second under Coach Barry Trotz, Wilson is expected to adopt a larger role as the third-line right winger, while also pitching in on the penalty kill after the offseason departures of Ward, Troy Brouwer and Eric Fehr.

“A lot of the time I’m skating around, a lot of opportunities pass when I’m skating so fast through seams,” Wilson said. “Sometimes you’ve got to slow down a little bit, just wait for plays to develop, and the players are so good at this level that they’ll find you.”

So was Wilson’s goal a promise of things to come?

“It’s still preseason, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves,” he said, smiling.

Roy proving his worth on PTO

Making his Washington debut on a professional tryout contract, forward Derek Roy trickled one solid scoring chance wide of the net but squeezed his second prime look past MacIntyre. The sequence began with Roy and linemate Stanislav Galiev battling below the right faceoff dot, and when Galiev’s forecheck coaxed a turnover, Roy stepped into a wrist that slipped just inside of the left post.

“I’ve got to go out and prove something,” said Roy, a veteran of 738 career NHL games playing for his sixth team since 2011-12. “I’ve got to go out and use my speed and make plays, be on the forecheck, be responsible defensively and be in all areas. I thought I got better and better as the game went on, and I’ve got some more improvement to go.”

One of only two Capitals forwards Monday to log at least two power play minutes and one shorthanded minute – T.J. Oshie was the other – Roy continued to receive a long look from Trotz, who deployed him beside youngsters Galiev and Jakub Vrana after trying him with several veterans during training camp practices.

“I think they’re just trying to see where I can fit on the team, what I can do, what I’m good at,” he said. “Putting me in all situations, I’m aware of that, and every time I go on the ice, it’s a chance to turn some heads and get on the team.”

Orlov earns praise from Trotz in NHL return

Defenseman Dimitry Orlov played his first NHL game in 17 months, as he missed all of last season because of complications from his wrist surgery delayed his recovery, and even when he was healthy, the Capitals never found room for him in their lineup. On Monday night, he had the most ice time on the team (21:36) and blocked four shots.

“It felt good,” Orlov said. “I was excited before the game. I can play again, and it was a good game for us.”

Orlov also took a puck off the leg at one point and hobbled to the bench, but shook off the stinger and returned without missing a shift.

“He’s well healed up,” Trotz said. “He was excited. I was happy for him. I’m looking for ways to get him more games, scrimmage and all those things. I didn’t know what to expect from Orly, because he hasn’t had a lot of game time, but I liked him today.”

Miscellaneous notes

An equipment issue delayed Braden Holtby’s arrival onto the ice until after the opening puck dropped – backup Dan Ellis played 36 seconds before a whistle allowed Holtby to take over – but the Capitals’ starter saved all 14 shots he faced, and Ellis added 12 saves in relief for the combined shutout … Washington won just 23 of 66 draws (35 percent), including a tough 6-for-12 night for top-line center Evgeny Kuznetsov, but Trotz said the Capitals’ Have done nothing on faceoffs” during camp and would begin emphasizing that Tuesday … No players are expected to play back-to-back nights, leaving a fresh roster for Tuesday’s trip to Boston.