Some big things were happening in DC last night as the Washington Capitals kicked off their pre-season against the Carolina Hurricanes. If you were too busy to catch this game then you didn’t miss a whole lot. It was a pretty low-event affair between two teams who were playing their first game in 4-5 months and it looked just like that. There were some dramatics with Justin Faulk winning the game in overtime on a late power play goal but overall, this was a pretty standard pre-season game.
The Canes had a pretty exciting off-season, acquiring Teuvo Teravainen from the Blackhawks and signing 2015 draft pick and World Juniors star Sebastian Aho to a entry-level contract. They also brought in Lee Stempniak to shore up their forward corps. This game featured none of those players. Most of the Washington Captials stars were also absent, as both Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom participated in the World Cup of Hockey and were not dressed in this game for obvious reasons.
So why am I writing a post on it then? Mostly because it’s the first NHL game that’s been televised here since the Stanley Cup Finals and it’s my first chance to test how I’m going to be sharing data for the upcoming season. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the stats from this game.
all data is 5v5 unless noted otherwise
Washington had a slight edge in this game at even strength, both in terms of shots and creating chances. Offense was hard to come by in this game, but Washington seemed to have more success with moving the puck around and being more creative with their opportunities. They had a couple of nice looking plays on the rush including a couple of odd-man breaks and a nice tip-play with Stanislav Galiev & Jakub Vrana. That said, their passing was a bit off and they weren’t that successful at getting through Carolina’s defense. Meanwhile, Carolina’s offense was also pretty anemic, creating most of their chances off rebounds or turnovers. As expected in a pre-season game.
Most of Washington’s stars didn’t play, but a few of their top defensive prospects got to play big minutes and one guy who impressed was Madison Bowey. He was Washington’s lone goal-scorer and was pretty active offensively in terms of setting up plays. This goes for their entire defense, as most of them seemed to make a point in helping out in the attack. Aaron Ness was another one who was noticeable in this area, although he didn’t have as impressive of a stat-line.
Carrying the load offensively was Patrick Brown, who created half of the Hurricanes scoring chances and most of them were unassisted. He also scored the opening goal for Carolina on a quick wrister that surprised Caps goaltender Vitek Vanecek and wasn’t shy about getting anything on goal. His line with Andrew Poturalski & Valentin Zykov seemed to be creating the most noise for Carolina in this game, the former drawing a couple penalties and showing a knack for finding open ice in the neutral zone. It’s uncertain where Brown fits on the Hurricanes roster but he made a case to earn a spot on opening night with his performance last night.
Washington Pass Zones
Carolina Pass Zones
Pre-season hockey = lots of dump-and-chase from both teams and not many shots to speak of.
Washington Zone Entries
Vrana ended up having the most impressive game in terms of zone entries and he showed some chemistry with Galiev. They didn’t connect on as many passes as they should have, but Galiev was the middle driver or support guy on most of Vrana’s entries, making his job a lot easier. It’ll be interesting to see if they stick together.
Carolina Zone Entries
I mentioned Poturalski’s play in the neutral zone earlier and this illustrates it more, as he entered the zone with control on all of his entries and was able to create a decent amount of shots off them. Brown ended up producing the most on the scoresheet, but Poturalski’s work shouldn’t be overlooked either. Felt like he was a bit too cautious and left some plays on the table, but hopefully he gets more comfortable with experience. Bickell also had a surprisingly impressive game, having the entry and primary assist on Brown’s goal in the first period.
Washington Zone Entry Defense
Carolina Zone Entry Defense
Washington Zone Exits
Carolina Zone Exits