October 22, 2014

Washington Capitals 2014-15 Season Roundtable Part II: Area of Concern

We’re a little late to the party here, but District Sports Page conducted a roundtable with staff writers and friends of the site to discuss pertinent issues surrounding the 2014-15 Washington Capitals.

Our panelists: Dave Nichols, Editor-in-Chief; Katie Brown, Staff Writer; Eric Hobeck, Staff Writer; J.J. Regan, Contributor; Abram Fox, former contributor, Harry Hawkings, Editor at Rock the Red.

Part I: Grade the Caps offseason and their biggest acquisitions
Part II: What is your single biggest area of concern?

Dave: The company line for area of concern is secondary scoring — specifically the second line, which seems to be a mixed jumble of part that didn’t fit elsewhere. There’s no veteran 2C, but Andre Burakovsky so far has done a bang up job and has much promise. I don’t like seeing Evgeny Kuznetsov buried on the fourth line like Tom Wilson was last season. If you’re in for a dime on Bura, might as  go for the dollar and put Kuzy on his right wing.

I also have concerns about the goalkeeping, which we’ll discuss in depth in a few days. This is a make-or-break year for Braden Holtby to prove he can carry a team as a clear-cut No. 1 goalie.

Katie: The top 6 forward depth. In signing Orpik and Niskanen, the Capitals spent money that could have been used to retain Mikhail Grabovski or sign a capable 2C. Though it appears that youngster Andre Burakovsky has adapted to the center position–and quite well, so far- the lack of an established 2C is a bit worrisome.

I don’t doubt Trotz’s judgment here, but it seems that now Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was supposed to be the Next Big Thing, has been left out in the cold a little, playing 4th line minutes more often than not. I’m unsure if this this because Trotz hasn’t figured out where to put him, or if he’s somehow in the doghouse. I’m sure it’s the latter, as Trotz has hinted that some of the guys playing less minutes right now will likely move up to larger roles as the season progresses.

Eric: I’m still concerned about the second-line center situation. This isn’t a knock on Eric Fehr, as his line has been very productive through the first five games, but there’s still a hole there after the departure of Grabovski.

J.J.: Secondary scoring. The Caps could not rely on their second line last season and did not sign a center to replace Mikhail Grabovski. I like what I’ve seen from Andre Burakovsky so far, but can he play at this level for 82 games? There’s also still no clear right wing for the top line. And just where does Marcus Johansson fit in? Clearly Trotz is still constructing the offensive lineup. It looks like the talent is there, he just needs to find the right combinations.

Abram: The second line. As others have noted, this is a team with a first line, two third lines, and a fourth line. We all know that Ovechkin’s line can score, the trio of Ward-Laich-Chimera can pin the puck in the opponent’s zone, and the current fourth line doesn’t seem to cause too much damage, although we’ll see once Aaron Volpatti returns. There’s not really a second scoring line on the roster.

Troy Brouwer and Evegeny Kuznetsov are capable scorers and Marcus Johansson is a fair set-up man, but no NHL team is quivering in their skates when they see Washington’s second unit hit the ice. Head Coach Barry Trotz has already begun tinkering with lines, and his task is to find a potent second combination without neutering the first line. That said, as long as he doesn’t have Jay Beagle centering Alexander Ovechkin, it’s an improvement over last year.

Harry: Consistency on offense.  The Capitals have a bad combination up front of relying on young players forced in to spots that they probably are not ready for (Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov) and overpaid veterans who will either regress or are not very good (Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich).  The top line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Fehr will be great, but after that there is not a whole lot to be very excited about.

Washington Capitals 2014-15 Season Roundtable Part I: Grade the Offseason

We’re a little late to the party here, but District Sports Page conducted a roundtable with staff writers and friends of the site to discuss pertinent issues surrounding the 2014-15 Washington Capitals.

Our panelists: Dave Nichols, Editor-in-Chief; Katie Brown, Staff Writer; Eric Hobeck, Staff Writer; J.J. Regan, Contributor; Abram Fox, former contributor, Harry Hawkings, Editor at Rock the Red.

Part I: Grade the Caps offseason and their biggest acquisitions.

Dave: C+. The biggest immediate acquisition, obviously, is Barry Trotz and the biggest long-term acquisition is Brian MacLellan. Trotz brings instant credibility to the on-ice product, while MacLellan’s impact is less certain and probably not fully realized until several seasons down the line.

Player-wise, the Caps biggest need was to add two NHL-caliber defensemen, and MacLellan went out and bought what he thought were the best options in Niskanen and Orpik. Nisky is a player entering his prime, while Orpik may be on his last legs and will end up as an albatross — probably sooner rather than later. But for this season, the pair significantly upgrade the balance of the blueline.

I would have liked to seen a scorer added, but the team will rely on a pair of rookies, Burakovsky and Kuznetsov, to help in that department.

Katie: B.The hiring of Barry Trotz salvaged what could have been a disastrous offseason for the Capitals. Can you imagine if Dan Bylsma had been a free agent? I suspect the promotion of Brian MacLellan was spurred by Trotz’s sudden availability and reluctance to hire a head coach without a general manager in place.

The Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen signings undoubtedly shored up a thin defense, and though they probably should have just signed Niskanen and not Orpik, it was a bold move that might pay off. Or it might be a bust. That’s the nature of risk. Good teams take risks, but it’s a fine line between good risks and bad risks. Thus far, this risk seems to be working out okay. I’ll get back to you in about 30 games.

Eric: I’d grade the offseason an A based on what Brian MacLellan was able to do with such little experience on the job. He improved the blueline immensely by signing Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen away from Pittsburgh, although that came at the cost of not bringing back Mikhail Grabovski. Initially, I thought losing Grabovski would be a serious detriment to the team’s offensive potential, but the top line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Brouwer has proved plenty capable thus far.

J.J.: B. Barry Trotz was a fantastic hire and I already love the things he’s done since coming in. I’m not yet sold on Brian MacLellan as GM. Right now he looks like the easy hire, but  I don’t know if he was the right one. He came in and immediately tried to address the need for defense, but at what cost? The Caps are certainly better in the short term, but I am wary of the long-term effects of the Niskanen/Orpik contracts, especially Orpik’s.

Abram: Obviously the biggest acquisition was a new head coach, Barry Trotz, the team’s fourth in four years.Trotz brings significant experience as a head coach – 15 years on the Nashville Predators – which goes far, considering the last time the Caps hired a veteran head coach it was Ron Wilson, seven coaches and 18 years ago. Other than that, the team overhauled its blue line with Matt Niskanen and USS Brooks Orpik, and added phenom Andre Burakovsky as well as grinder Liam O’Brien and backup goalie Justin Peters, while losing Michal Neuvirth and Mikhail Grabovski.

There’s no question the 2013-14 roster is a better on-ice squad than the 2012-13 team. That said, the team’s salary cap situation has a far bleaker outlook thanks to the massive amount of money being plugged into the defensive corps. Which is a long way of saying that the offseason gets a 79%, graciously rounded up to a B-. Room for improvement.

Harry:  I give the offseason a C. The Capitals signed a good defenseman in Matt Niskanen to a reasonable contract but gave Brooks Orpik a very scary one.  They also let their third-best forward walk in free agency. Even with the hiring of Trotz, which was smart, they didn’t really move closer to a Stanley Cup championship.

Washington Capitals Power Rankings: Weeks 1 & 2

Each Monday this season, District Sports Page will rank the active roster of the Washington Capitals “power ranking” style. The criteria for rankings will be questionable and highly subjective, so don’t think too hard about them.

Note: this list actually covers weeks 1 & 2, since the Capitals only played 5 games during that timespan.

Rank Player The whatfor
1 Alex Ovechkin Six points in 5 games, and he looks great at even strength. Fun times.
2 Mike Green I think he’ll outlast Brooks Laich in the injury sweepstakes. If there was any worry about how he’d fit into the updated defensive corps, thats gone now. He’s thriving.
3 Andre Burakovsky Five points in five games. He seems to be adjusting to his role as a center. It’s like he was born to be a 2C.
4 Troy Brouwer He got bumped up to the first line against Florida when Fehr moved back to the third line, and scored the equalizing goal against San Jose that sent the game to OT.
5 Nick Backstrom Mr. 500 is kind of a big deal ’round these parts. Just ask Barry Trotz.
6 Braden Holtby Two wins, a shutout in Boston, not a bad start to the season for Holtby (aside from that one time he was pulled less than 10 minutes into the game against San Jose.)
7 Jason Chimera This guy was all over the ice Saturday night, and he definitely worked on his moves during the offseason.”)
8 Marcus Johansson Part of the “Swedetrick” against the Devils, and has 2 goals through 5 games. He’s shooting more and looks pretty confident on the ice.
9 Eric Fehr He’s already been bumped from the first line to the third with Chimera and Ward, and it’s moderately unfortunate for a player who can skate as well as he can to be stuck at center, but there’s still a lot of time left for things to change.
10 Justin Peters He’s only gotten one start, but it was a good one, and has subbed in capably when needed.
11 Evgeny Kuznetsov Three points in 5 games, which is not bad, but he’s still being shuffled around the lineup a bit.
12 Nate Schmidt If Nate Schmidt ever stops smiling, the world will probably stop turning and the sun will cease to shine. Besides that, he looks more like an NHL defenseman every day.
13 Karl Alzner Karl is as Karl does. No surprises here.
14 Joel Ward This.
15 Brooks Orpik Orpik, usually paired with John Carlson, looked good, aside from the first period of the Sharks game, where everyone was struggling.
16 John Carlson Four points in four games for Carlson, and he’s seeing a lot of power play time as well.
17 Matt Niskanen He’s eating up a lot of minutes, and seems to be meshing well with partner Karl Alzner.
18 Liam O’Brien Probably the sassiest guy on the team. Not many people his size would dare taunt the mountainous John Scott.
19 Brooks Laich Laich has one point in 5 games, and it looks like he’s going to miss some time with an upper-body injury. Say it with me: at least it’s not the groin.
20 Chris Brown He’s done pretty much what is expected of him as a fourth line winger, and scored a goal, too.
21 Michael Latta Healthy scratch for 3 of 5 games this season, only seeing action against Boston and San Jose thus far.
 – John Erskine Healthy scratch. Not a great probability we’ll see him dress for a game any time soon.
 – Aaron Volpatti Still on IR for the foreseeable future.
 – Jack Hillen Healthy scratch since his one start in the home opener. Probably won’t be seeing much of Hillen this season.
 – Tom Wilson Still on IR, but Trotz has hinted that he may see a rehab stint in Hershey fairly soon.
 – Jay Beagle Not in the doghouse, but still on IR. He practiced Monday morning, so he might be back soon.
 – Dmitri Orlov Yup, still on IR.

Washington Capitals Game 5 Recap: Caps survive in shootout win over Florida

The Washington Capitals continued their  strong start to the 2014-15 season on Saturday night at Verizon Center with a 2-1 shootout win over the Florida Panthers.

Justin Peters made his first start of the young season in goal for the Caps, stopping 20 of the 21 shots he faced, and looked ready to be a solid backup to Braden Holtby.

“That’s some nice run support,” said Peters, the game’s first star, on his teammates’ 1-2-3 scoring effort in the shootout. “We’ve got a lot of skill and I see those guys in practice every day, so it’s nice to see them score because they do that to me.”

Nick Backstrom scored the deciding goal in the shootout, and Alex Ovechkin iced it in the top of the third round with his first shootout tally of the season.

It was Backstrom’s 500th NHL game, and the Swedish pivot sits at 499 career points.

“He’s exceptional,” coach Barry Trotz said of his No. 1 center. “The hockey IQ, the professionalism, the stick skills, all those things. You know what you’re going to get night in and night out. That’s part of being a pro, and that’s part of being a great pro.

He’s done it at a high level for 500 games and he was good tonight. He had a couple looks himself and he set a couple guys up that sort of whiffed on a couple chances. He’s a pleasure to coach and a pleasure to watch.”

Jason Chimera was the best player on the ice not wearing goalie pads Saturday night, and he opened the scoring late in the first period. Chimera was in front of the net and received a nifty pass from Eric Fehr. Chimera deked Florida goalie Al Montoya out of position and deposited his first goal of the season on the backhand.

“It was nice to get the goal and get the team going, for sure. You want to win as much as possible and if you can help your team win, that’s what you’ve got to do,” Chimera said.

The Panthers tied it on the power play early in the third period to make things interesting, as Brad Boyes scored his first goal of the season.

The win puts the Capitals’ record at 3-0-2 ahead of next week’s road trip at Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.


  • Washington has posted a 10-0-1 record in its last 11 games against Florida and has won nine consecutive home games against the Panthers.
  • The Capitals outshot the Panthers 28-21.
  • Washington was 4 for 5 on the penalty kill tonight and is 18 for 20 (90.0%) on the penalty kill this season.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers 10/18/14

The Panthers aren’t divisional rivals anymore, which is weird, but the Capitals still kind of beat up on the new kid like the old days. Jason Chimera scored a weird goal, and the Panthers got one back on a power play, but the Capitals were perfect in the shootout and won 2-1.

First Star: Jason Chimera

The Ice Cheetah was everywhere on the ice against the Panthers tonight. Since the re-addition of Eric Fehr, the third line has been abuzz, including Joel Ward scoring a weird goal against the Devils Thursday night. Chimera’s goal was as fancy as they come. He was clearly working on his finesse in the offseason. He had another great scoring chance on Al Montoya later in the game, and had a team high 5 shots on goal.

Check it.

Second Star: Justin Peters

In his first start with the Caps, Peters effectively brought home the bacon for the Capitals, stopping 20 of 21 shots, and stopped Jussi Jokinen in the shootout for the Caps’ win. It was his first start since December of 2013, when he was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s a super solid No. 2 goalie. And he has great hair. What more do you want?

Third Star: Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin was the third shooter in the shootout lineup, and scored the winning shot with the prettiest shootout goal he’s made in years. He had two shots on goal and seven hits in the 2-1 win.

Honorable mention: Nicklas Backstrom

He finished with three shots on goal and did not register a point, but Mr. 500 is still one of the best. Congrats on 500.

Washington Capitals Morning Skate Update for Oct. 18: Barry Trotz and Nicklas Backstrom

Saturday night’s Washington Capitals game against the Florida Panthers will be the 500th for longtime Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom, drafted by the team in the 2006 Entry Draft, spoke about what it means to have played 500 games for the club: “[It] felt like yesterday I was playing my first game, so I’m happy that I’ve played 500 here. I have my heart and soul here in Washington so it’s an honor for me to represent this team.

“It’s gone quicker than you think. You don’t really have to think about it during all these years, and all of a sudden when you see the number, ‘Oh, I’ve been here awhile now.’ So it’s kind of fun actually but exciting as well.”

Head Coach Barry Trotz has publicly talked about Backstrom’s skill in the past, adding today, “I’ve been a big advocate of his. He’s one of the most complete players in the National Hockey League. [He's] under the radar, doesn’t get any fanfare, doesn’t get a lot of the love that he should around the league.”

When asked about what makes Backstrom so special, Trotz said, “Just his hockey IQ. He can pass the puck, he can play on both sides of the puck, he knows where it’s going before it’s actually going there … he’s got the hockey IQ that is probably one of the foremost, number one, and then the skillset comes two for me.”

Justin Peters will get the start in net for the Caps, his first for the team this season ahead of next week’s road trip through western Canada. Peters was the goalie of record against the Sharks on Tuesday; Braden Holtby was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils 10/16/14

The Capitals soundly whipped the Devils 6-2 Thursday night at Verizon Center. They are still undefeated in regulation, as both of their losses so far this season have been in the shootout, and their record is now 2-0-2, which also happens to be the DC area code. Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, and Andre Burakovsky all scored, which I believe is now known as a “Swedetrick.”


First Star:

Braden Holtby.

Once again, Holtby is our first star. He made a few ten-bell saves to keep the game close, including a crucial stop on Jaromir Jagr. In the third period, Holtby’s work was supplemented by offense (for once) in the form of three goals. He stopped 26 of 28 shots in the win.


Second Star:

Marcus Johansson.

It’s only 4 games in, but Johansson is my vote for most improved under Barry Trotz so far. His second period tally was the kind of shot he probably would have passed up last season. Overall, he looks far more confident in his abilities; fast and sharp. Trotz has been good for him.


Third Star:

Joel Ward.

If Ward and Jason Chimera are the heart and soul of the third line, Eric Fehr is the brains. Tonight, Ward was reunited with the brains, and scored perhaps the funkiest goal of the season so far. He chucked the puck to the rear boards behind Cory Schnieder, but it bounced up and to the right of Schneider, behind the goalpost. When Schnieder retreated to protect the goal line, the puck went in. Good goal. Just watch the video.

Washington Capitals Game 4 Recap: 6 Caps score in trouncing of Devils


Just three games into the 2014-15 campaign, the Washington Capitals had already fallen in shootouts twice. They made sure to avoid that distinction Thursday night, scoring early — and often — trouncing the previously unbeaten New Jersey Devils 6-2.

Six different Caps players scored, handing the Devils their first loss of the season. New Jersey entered play 3-0-0.

It didn’t take long for the Caps (2-0-2) to get engaged in this one. In fact, it took just 34 seconds for Alex Ovechkin to gather a loose puck and snap one past Cory Schneider for the quick 1-0 lead. Kind of ridiculously, it was only the sixth fastest goal Ovechkin has scored in his career.

Ovechkin has scored in three straight games, amassing five goals in that timeframe.

New Jersey answered a little past the midway mark of the frame. The Devils did a good job creating traffic in front of Braden Holtby, and defenseman Damon Severson’s wrist shot got through a maze of bodies to tie it up.

But a lackadaisical Devils turnover on the next shift was corralled by Brooks Orpik near center ice. He tossed to Mike Green, who moved the puck ahead for Chris Brown on the right wing. Brown fired on Schneider essentially to trigger a line change, but slap shot got past the New Jersey goalie for a 2-1 Caps lead.

With 3:24 left in the period, the Devils tied it again on another shot by Severson from the point through traffic. It’s the second consecutive game the Caps have given up a two-goal period to a defenseman.

Marcus Johansson broke the tie 6:18 into the second period as he took a pass from Brooks Laich off the half-wall and beat Schneider with a wrist shot for his second goal of the season.

The Caps got an insurance goal 56 seconds into the third. Matt Niskanen fired from the point and Nick Backstrom redirected the slap slot while camping out in the low slot to make it 4-2.

Moments later, Joel Ward fired one in from the blue line that bounced off the back wall, off Schneider’s back and into his skates. The goalie fell trying to cover and pushed the puck into the net to give the Caps a 5-2 lead. Schneider was promptly lifted in favor of Scott Clemmensen.

The Caps added insult to injury later in the third. With Jaromir Jagr off for tripping, Andre Burakovsky sniped the top glove corner on Clemmensen from the right wing dot to provide a four-goal cushion.

Braden Holtby was spectacular in the first period, despite the two screened goals. He was rarely tested after and made 26 saves in total for his second win of the season.

Capitals Game Day Notes: Green on skating, Schmidt on fitting in

Much has been made of Mike Green’s resurgence so far this season for the Washington Capitals since his return from the injured list. For the veteran defenseman, it’s been about making adjustments and confidence in the systems that new coach Barry Trotz has put in place.

Asked why it appears he’s skating so much better this season, Green answered quickly.

“Change in system. Everybody’s skating a lot better, to be honest,” Green said after Thursday’s pregame skate at Kettler. “I think that has a lot to do with the structure of our system and being confident within it. It’s just a matter of being consistent throughout the year.”

Green played with Nate Schmidt in his first game and much of the next, but in the third period in Tuesday’s shootout loss to San Jose, Green found himself with veteran Brooks Orpik for a few shifts.

For his part, Green said he’d prefer a regular partner, but realizes the practicality of the situation.

“It’s tough,” Green started, “but you know, it is what it is. This league is all about adjustments and being able to adjust in certain situations. I’d rather have one partner, but it is what it is. I really enjoy playing with Nate [Schmidt] right now. Great young player, good energy, makes smart plays. He’s got all the tools in his trunk. He’s been great.

Schmidt has just tried to soak it all in after making the team out of camp with injuries to Jack Hillen and Dmitry Orlov. “Mike’s just tremendous with the puck. He does a lot of things that hopefully I’ll be able to learn one day, but the last two games that he’s been able to play in he’s been awesome. We played a little bit together last year but we’re just trying to get even more familiar with each other so I can let him do his things. He’s an extremely talented guy. We talk a lot on the bench, a lot of communication. He’s been here for ten years, he knows the ropes, and for me just to soak up as much information as I can from guys like him can only be beneficial for me in the long run.

Schmidt watched with interest this past offseason as the team brought in two veteran blueliners, but he’s taken a “best case scenario” approach to his position on the depth chart.

“Both those guys have been extremely helpful,” Schmidt said of Matt Niskanen and Orpik. “With Nisky being a fellow Minnesotan, just to have that connection with him is really helpful. And Brooksy, is the definition of a pro. He comes to the rink every day, he does everything the right way whether it’s on or off the ice. For me, I don’t even have to talk to him every day to pick up something new because he’s been around and has so much experience.”

Schmidt is realistic about where he stands, but he’s looking to make a good impression while he’s given the opportunity.

“We had those two guys [Orpik, Niskanen] come in and at first glance you’re like, ‘Aw man, I’m gonna be too far down [the depth chart],’ but it opened up a door for me to learn from these guys and go out and contribute to this team. My goal coming into camp was to make the team and try to make it real hard for them to push me down.

I think it’s been going well so far. We have been growing as a D corps each and every day. We had two great games. Last game might not have been our best but we learned a lot from it so I’m excited going forward.”

While his status might be in question when Hillen and Orlov eventually return, he’s going to make the most of wearing the Caps sweater while he can.

“For a guy like me, that’s as much as I can do is take up as much experience of being around those guys. They’ve been through it all — what works, what doesn’t work — those are the types of things that you need to learn as a young player, hopefully at an earlier age than later on.”

Schmidt had a unique view of the organizational struggles last season, being a tweener between the big club and AHL Hershey, both of which failed to qualify for the postseason.

He said the tension could be felt throughout the organization. “It’s kind of a trickle down effect,” Schmidt said. “We were pushing for the playoffs too at Hershey last year and we didn’t make the playoffs. It was kinda tough. I think it was the first time ever both teams missed the playoffs in a long time so it’s a disheartening thing.”

“You want both teams in, you want both clubs to win, cause when you win, good things happen for everybody. Wherever it may be, whether it’s AHL guys getting NHL time here or anywhere else, but this is a great group of guys and it would be special to get back to that here.”

Caps comeback against Sharks could be biggest point earned all season

To say the Washington Capitals came out flat in the first period in Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks is an understatement.

As well as the team played in its first two games, it was quite a shock to everyone — including the team — to see it come out so poorly against the travelling Sharks, a team this franchise historically has had its fair share of problems with.

There were problems all night on the blue line. John Carlson, in particular, played poorly and ended up demoted in the third period as Mike Green — who actually had a fantastic game — joined Brooks Orpik on the second pairing.

But the Caps were able to comeback, tie the game, and force overtime to earn a point against one of the better teams in the Western Conference — after falling behind 3-0 midway through the first period.

Considering the situation, then, could erasing a three-goal deficit — and a two-goal margin with less than six minutes left in the game — be one of the biggest single points the Caps pick up this season?

“Yeah. It’s pretty incredible we found a way to come back there and score some goals against a team that hadn’t let a goal in [yet this season],” defenseman Karl Alzner said afterwards. “That’s gotta say something.”

“We started the game playing the way we did in the first two games there in the second period. If we play three periods like that, it doesn’t matter what team it is you’re gonna have a chance to win. We’re happy that we came back against a great team, but we like to think about ourselves and what we did tonight wasn’t enough.

Coach Barry Trotz agreed. “We got a point where we probably could sit here and go ‘We shouldn’t deserve points tonight’, but we got one.”

Trotz also brought up that the Caps have picked up four points in the first three games — all against playoff teams.

It’s problematic for this team to dig a hole for themselves and have to score their way out of it. And they’d especially like to avoid going the shootout route they took so much last season. But a point is a point, and considering their absence form the playoffs last season, they need to accumulate points wherever and whenever they can.

“You gotta commend us for coming back but we definitely had a slow start,” Green said. Green had a goal and an assist, and has scored in both games he’s played thus far.

“You know, we can’t be doing that. We realize how we have to play to be successful. It took us about a period to figure it out. Barry had some words of encouragement in the second and third [periods].  We put our minds to it and we got the job done as far as getting the one point. But we can’t be going to shootout most nights.”

Backup goalie Justin Peters was called on by Trotz to relieve Braden Holtby after the Sharks’ third goal in the first period. It was a tough situation to come into for his first action of the season, but he acquitted himself well under the conditions.

“We were a resilient group tonight,” Peters said. “We were real flat in the first period. I guess now you realize how valuable points are and we’re lucky to come away with a point but it just shows when we get playing we’re a pretty good team.”

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