By Buster Williams
The Capitals defeated the Blues 4-0 in St. Louis Tuesday night to record their first victory of the preseason. Phoenix Copley started in net and went the distance as he recorded a shutout while facing a whopping 42 shots on goal. The young goaltender looked phenomenal all night, even denying a 2-on-0 chance to rob the Blues’ Jordan Kyrou of a goal. In what is expected to be his final work of the preseason, Copley appears to have solidified his role as the team’s backup goalie to Braden Holtby.
Also by Buster Williams: Riley Barber Impresses As Caps Drop 2nd Preseason Game to Bruins
Shane Gersich got the scoring going in the first period as he fired a shot past Jake Allen to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. Riley Barber continued his impressive preseason play by recording an assist on the goal. Barber carried the puck into the offensive zone and a trailing Gersich was able to fire the puck into the top corner of the net. Madison Bowey, Chandler Stephenson, and Nathan Walker also recorded goals in the game. In total, the Capitals put 37 shots on net. The team had five power-play opportunities, but were unable to score on any of them. However, they were able to kill all three of the Blues’ power plays.
John Carlson Returns For Caps
John Carlson made his preseason debut in the game after missing the beginning of training camp with a lower-body injury. The veteran defenseman, fresh off signing an eight-year deal worth $64 million, put together a solid performance in his first action of the year. He recorded two blocked shots and added two takeaways, while also putting two shots on goal. Carlson had an assist on the Nathan Walker goal, as he displayed nice stick skills to quickly send a pass behind the goaltender for a tap-in goal.
Michal Kempny Injured
The night was not a complete success for the Capitals, as defenseman Michal Kempny suffered what is being referred to as an upper-body injury. Kempny absorbed a high hit against the glass from Blues forward Robert Bortuzzo, in which his head appeared to take significant contact. Kempny was an important part of the Capitals’ Stanley Cup winning run, and he cashed in by signing a four-year deal worth $10 million during the offseason. Every team hopes to make it through the preseason without suffering any injuries, especially to key contributors. At this time, it’s unclear if the injury will cause Kempny to miss any regular-season action, but it would be a significant blow to the team, as Kempny is expected to be paired on the top line with John Carlson. The hit by Bortuzzo is being reviewed by the NHL, and could result in a hearing for the defenseman. Not surprisingly, Tom Wilson took issue with the hit and fought Bortuzzo six minutes later.
Capitals Preseason Coming to a Close
The Caps have two games remaining in the preseason. They will take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena on Friday evening. They will then host a rematch with the Blues to wrap up preseason action on Sunday afternoon. All preseason games will be carried via WashingtonCaps.com and Caps Radio 24/7, with selected games to be broadcast on 106.7 The Fan.