Preseason quick recaps: October 1st

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There were 10 games tonight, so no time for silly introductions.

Carolina 2, Atlanta 1 (OT)

Plus: Brandon Sutter scored both of Carolina’s goals. Both Cam Ward and Ondrej Pavelec put together very nice games.

Minus: You have to wonder about the goal scoring depth of both teams next season. Games like these justify such worries.

Washington 5, Columbus 3

Plus: Capitals fans reportedly gave former team captain Chris Clark a nice ovation, who had one goal and one assist in the game. Eric Fehr put up two goals and an assist while Mike Green had two assists for Washington.

Minus: The Blue Jackets might open it up a bit next season, but judging by the 38 shots allowed, it seems like there’s a chance that might come at the expense of their once-stout defense.

New York 5, Ottawa 4 (SO)

Plus: Clear signs this was a preseason game: Brian Boyle had one goal and one assist while Derek Boogaard scored a goal. A bit more normally, Jason Spezza put together a nice two goal, one assist performance. Chris Campoli had one goal and two assists.

Minus: Every time a game is decided by a shootout, a hockey purist loses its wings.

New Jersey 4, NY Islanders 3

Plus: The Devils’ top players put together another good game, only this time they won. Matt Moulson almost brought the Islanders back into the game, scoring the contest’s last two goals.

Minus: None of those stats count.

Detroit 7, Toronto 3

Plus: Jiri Hudler scored two goals while the Red Wings went 4 for 7 on the power play. Don’t forget that Hudler wasn’t in Detroit last season, depriving the team of a valuable depth scorer.

Minus: It seems like the Leafs were blown out every game this preseason, but that’s just because they’ve played a bunch of games. And also because they’re not very good. Jussi Rynnas allowed all seven goals in this one.

Philadelphia 3, Buffalo 1

Plus: Brian Boucher had a great game, stopping 32 of 33 shots in this one. Ryan Miller was solid too, making 21 of 23 saves. The Flyers scored two power-play goals in this game.

Minus: Mike Grier got thrown out of the game in the third period.

Tampa Bay 2, Florida 1 (OT)

Plus: Both goalies were fantastic in this one; Tomas Vokoun went 40 for 42 while Mike Smith went 29 for 30. Simon Gagne was involved in the game’s two goals, scoring the first one and producing an assist on the overtime game-winner.

Minus: The Panthers allowed 42 shots while the Lightning allowed 30. That’s not very good.

Chicago 5, Pittsburgh 2

Plus: Marian Hossa scored two goals while Patrik Sharp produced a goal and an assist. Brent Seabrook was a +3. Both power plays converted on 50 percent off their chances.

Minus: Brent Johnson allowed three goals on 10 assists.

Calgary 5, Edmonton 1

Plus: Jarome Iginla scored two goals while Mikael Backlund provided two assists. Henrik Karlsson probably won’t get many chances to play real games, but he at least did his job in stopping 20 of only 21 shots.

Minus: Nikolai Khabibulin allowed six goals while the Oilers only put 21 shots on net. Sam Gagner went 5-13 on faceoffs while only having a -2 rating.

Vancouver 4, Anaheim 2

Plus: Ryan Kesler scored a goal and added an assist. Vancouver went 2 for 4 on the power play while Anaheim went 1 out of 5.

Minus: Vancouver only had four shots in the first period.

Ovechkin shrugs off Caps’ Game 1 loss in very Ovechkin way

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You know, it happens. Maybe not always in those exact words.

The Washington Capitals carried the play during portions of their 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even down 1-0 in the series, just about every player seemed happy with their overall game.

(Granted, Braden Holtby picked apart two of the three goals he allowed, and so on.)

Still, Alex Ovechkin shrugged off the disappointment in a way that wasn’t quite Rated R, but probably ranks in the PG-13 range:

The penalty element is interesting, though.

When asked after the loss about the lack of power plays, Matt Niskanen merely offered a “no comment.”

The Penguins experienced some sprawling moments, yet they avoided taking a penalty each time. Often, when a team carries long sequences of play, they’ll go on the PP (especially with home-ice advantage) … but not the Capitals in Game 1.

via Natural Stat Trick

It’s a situation to watch as the Capitals hope to even the series against the Penguins with Game 2 coming on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. (You can watch online, via the NBC Sports App and follow the livestream here).

Holtby takes blame for two big goals in Caps’ loss to Pens

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It’s just about a consensus that the Washington Capitals believed that they generally played a strong game despite falling 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Braden Holtby‘s teammates likely wouldn’t agree with his assessment that the Game 1 loss is on his shoulders, but the perennial Vezina candidate took the blame for Sidney Crosby‘s first goal of the night and Nick Bonino‘s game-winner.

Noting that the Penguins are a dangerous rush team – making them a different threat than the Toronto Maple Leafs – Holtby believes that he should have had his glove in position to stop the 1-0 goal. He said he’s capable of making such a stop and “will next time.” Check out Crosby’s two goals below, with Holtby having a beef with the first one:

It’s really difficult to place too much blame on Holtby for giving up Nick Bonino’s game-winner, as it seemed like a great rush play that few goalies would be able to stop.

Judge for yourself in the highlights:

The Penguins were ultimately able to take a 1-0 series lead, but the Capitals seem capable of shrugging off questions about frustrations, even with naysayers starting to gain confidence in claiming that there will be more than the same.

If Washington’s going to get over this big hurdle, Holtby is likely to be a big part in doing so.

Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.

(Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)

The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.

It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.

Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.

Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?

The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.

Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).

Karlsson makes difference for Senators vs. Lundqvist, Rangers

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Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.

That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.

Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.

Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you, stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.

Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.

Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.