By Buster Williams
The Capitals returned to D.C. Tuesday night, in their first action since hoisting the Stanley Cup. The return home was spoiled as the Bruins won the game 5-2, handing the Capitals two losses in just three days. Much like the first preseason game, the Caps roster was mostly filled with rookies and prospects, although a few big name players did suit up, such as T.J. Oshie, Matt Niskanen, Nick Backstrom, and Braden Holtby.
Both Holtby and top prospect Ilya Samsonov received time in net in the game. Holtby got the start, and he allowed two goals on eight shots. While his save percentage was not great, he put together what may have been the play of the night by making an incredible toe save on a shot by former Cap Daniel Winnik. However, the story of the night may have been Samsonov, as he competed in his first action as a Capital. Samsonov made his entrance in the second period, which was quickly spoiled as he allowed a goal from Zach Senyshyn just seconds after he took the net. Overall, the young prospect allowed two goals while facing 11 shots.
Riley Barber Impresses
The most impressive Capitals’ performance of the night came from 24 year old right wing, Riley Barber. Barber contributed by tallying nine shots and a goal on the night. The goal came in the first period, as Barber redirected a shot from Alexander Alexeyev to tie the game at 1-1. The strong play from Barber, both on the power play and at even strength, could position him as one of the top choices to secure a spot on the roster.
Matt Niskanen Has a Strong Performance
Matt Niskanen’s night ended similarly to that of Riley Barber, as he scored a goal of his own while recording eight shots in total. His goal cut the Capitals’ deficit to 4-2, but the team missed several opportunities on the power play and were never able to get back into the game. In total, the Caps put up 33 shots on goal, and more than half (17) came from the sticks of Niskanen and Barber. The majority of those shots came in the third period, and though the Caps were only able to score one goal in the third, Head Coach Todd Reirden was happy with the performance, stating that he “liked our third period” in his interview following the game.
Habs Next Up
The Caps will be back on the ice Thursday evening as they travel to Montreal to take on the Canadiens. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM. 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.