Don’t look now, but Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has goals in three straight. Just 34 seconds into the first period, Barry Trotz’s newly configured top line paid dividends. After Troy Brouwer ripped a shot on Cory Schneider, Ovechkin snatched the tasty rebound, skated to the right circle, and wristed the shot stick-side.
Two summers ago, Andre Burakovsky came to Capitals Development Camp as a skinny but skilled winger a few years away from the NHL. He made friends with Tom Wilson, about 11 months his senior, and the Canadian introduced him to life in North American and the “cinnamon rollers” that come with it.
Wilson made the Caps roster as a 19-year-old three months later, playing in every one of the team’s 82 games but barely getting on the ice. He registered 15 times more penalty minutes than points. Connor Carrick, another 19-year-old, also made the team out of camp. Though Carrick impressed early with manifest skill, he struggled as the season went on. Thanks to the Caps barren defense, Carrick was playing minutes he wasn’t ready for. Like Wilson, Carrick was ill-served by his rookie experience.
19-year-old Andre Burakovsky has already scored his first NHL goal, and we’re not even ten minutes old! Skating between Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson, Burakovsky continued his torrid pace from the preseason, scoring a one-timer from the slot.
The Washington Capitals concluded their preseason on Sunday by dismissing the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 at Verizon Center. That five spot led to a bunch of high-fiving on the bench, which our Amanda Bowen dutifully captured.
Check out below for details of Alex Ovechkin’s new gloves, Barry Trotz’s poker face, and a whole lot of smiling Caps.
The 19-year-old first-round pick led all skaters on Wednesday with five shots on net. He also hit the post on a breakaway in the first period. Through three games this preaseason Burakovsky has a goal and an assist. During Sunday’s game against Montreal, he forced a turnover by Canadians defenseman PK Subban along the boards and set up Joel Ward for the game-winning goal. In the Caps first preseason game of the year, he scored the game-winning goal.
Wednesday, Burakovsky centered Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich on the team’s de facto second line.
This season, the Capitals are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Since they weren’t able to raise any Eastern Conference Regular Season Champion banners last year, the team decided to add a new installation outside section 111 honoring the hat tricks in franchise history. The exhibition, in a neat touch, includes displays of headwear collected after 13 hat tricks at Verizon Center since 2008. Most of those, naturally, come from Alex Ovechkin, with cameos from Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer and departed Caps Alexander Semin and Mathieu Perreault. There’s currently space for three more hat tricks. How quickly those get filled will depend on whether teams keep leaving Ovi wide open at the near circle.
With “help” from Troy Brouwer, the Brouwer Rangers, Connor Carrick, and Wes Johnson, I completed the Ice Bucket Challenge in front of 100 crazed lunatics at center ice. I’m told it was a balmy 25 degrees at ice level.