The Washington Capitals have been searching for goals this season. Instead of being powered by a high-flying offense, the Caps’ defense, which allows the fourth-fewest goals against per game, has led them to a 13-6-2 record. On Thursday, Washington will deploy its latest effort to energize their attack when Jakub Vrana, their 20-year-old 2014 first-round pick, takes to the ice against the New York Islanders in his NHL debut.
“I was napping after practice so I got a wake up call,” Vrana told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Thursday morning, explaining how he learned the news. “I’m very pumped.”
“I missed the call a few times,” Vrana finally admitted with a smirk.
While napping Wednesday afternoon, 20-year-old Jakub Vrana received the call he always dreamed about. With TJ Oshie injured and the Caps wanting more speed, Vrana was promoted to Washington and will make his NHL debut Thursday night against the New York Islanders.
At the time of his call-up, Vrana was the AHL’s third best goal-scorer, tallying nine goals in 18 games. Despite Paul Carey’s long point-per-game streak, Vrana has been by far and away the Bears’ most dangerous player. The talented Czech winger began the season in October with five goals in six games. He followed that up with a four-goals-in-six-games outburst in November. In 57 career AHL games, Vrana already has four multi-goal games.
Vrana will be bringing a skillset to Washington that includes a big shot along with plus-skating and stick-handling. The 2014 first-round pick’s talent is evident in all nine of the goals he scored so far this season.
Former RMNB member, Kyle Mace has his very own Hershey blog called Chocolate Hockey and he’s doing big things. A few weeks ago, Mace published a video of himself playing Hershey Bears forward Chris Bourque at NHL94.
On Wednesday, the same day Jakub Vrana received his first NHL call up, Mace published another video game feature, but this time it featured Vrana and fellow Czech Vitek Vanecek. It was chaos.
The trio navigated (poorly) the FIFA17 FUT Draft. “It look like we have the best team ever,” Vrana said with confidence, before taking on an online player.
The game would end with Vrana threatening to break the TV with his controller.
After showing flashes of brilliance during the preseason, Zach Sanford was the surprise of training camp, earning a roster spot and a regular spot in the lineup with the Capitals. But after tallying a lone assist and a 48.88% corsi* in 19 NHL games, the former standout from Boston College was reassigned to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears on Wednesday.
The corresponding roster move was significant. The Caps finally called up talented 2014 first-round pick Jakub Vrana as well as veteran forward Paul Carey.
So far this season, Vrana has nine goals in 18 games with the Bears. He ranks third on the team with 16 points, trailing only Chris Bourque and Travis Boyd (17).
Vrana will likely take Sanford’s place in the lineup while Carey serves as insurance with TJ Oshie out with a shoulder injury.
Saturday night, the Hershey Bears were able to jump out to a three-goal lead over the Springfield Thunderbirds on goals from Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, and Christian Thomas. Thomas’ goal would tie him with Jakub Vrana for the team lead (9).
Although the Thunderbirds were able to battle back in the second, the Bears would thwart any comeback attempts as Travis Boyd would score the eventual game-winner early in the third for his second goal of the game. It came off a dynamite Vrana assist. The win was the Bears’ second over the Thunderbirds in as many nights.
Vrana and Boyd are now tied for second on the Bears in points (16). Caps prospect goaltender Vitek Vanecek stopped 16 shots for the win. The win marked Troy Mann’s 100th with the Bears.
The Hershey Bears were able to beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-2 in the first leg of a home-and-home, Friday night. The Bears would receive a strong outing from goaltender Joe Cannata stopping 25 of 27 shots.
Liam O’Brien began the scoring for the Bears early in the first. After Springfield finished the period up 2-1, the Bears would score four unanswered goals to win the game 5-2.
Entering their game against the Syracuse Crunch Friday night, Hershey Bears players had no idea that some of them would be making one their final impressions before the Caps would call up a forward. They put on a good showing, defeating the Crunch 5-1.
Jakub Vrana opened up the scoring in the first with a breakaway goal after a nice pass from Chris Bourque. The tally would be Vrana’s eighth of the season. Bourque and Christian Thomas would each add two goals as the game went on.
Chris Bourque leads the Bears in points after Friday with four goals and twelve assists. Though Vrana owns the lead for goals with eight, veteran Christian Thomas has put up an impressive six for second on the team. Chandler Stephenson recorded three assists on the night as well, pushing his assist total to seven on the year. Vitek Vanecek stopped 23 of 24 shots for the win.
The Hershey Bears were able to snap their three-game skid Wednesday night in Utica, beating the Comets 4-2. Capitals prospect Nathan Walker scored two goals, including the game-winning tally. Recent ECHL call-up Domenic Monardo added two assists.
The Bears’ first goal was scored by Liam O’Brien on a fire drill in front of the net.Hershey would increase their lead later in the period on a Chris Bourque five-on-three power play goal with assists from Paul Carey and Jakub Vrana.
The assist marked Carey’s 12th point of the year in 13 games. Vrana’s assist would bring his season point total to ten. Walker now has four goals and four assists on the year. Bears Goalie Joe Cannata stopped a total of 19 shots against his former team.
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