Martin Erat was very frustrated after being limited to just 9:01 minutes in the Capitals’ season opener on Tuesday. On Thursday, Capitals coach Adam Oates used him even less.
Erat was bounced around quite a bit during training camp and now he’s being largely restricted to fourth line duties. It’s not like they’ve missed his secondary scoring thus far, but it wasn’t too long ago that they surrendered top prospect Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators to get him.
In Nashville, Erat was remarkably consistent, recording between 49 and 58 points in eight straight campaigns going into the shortened season, but he was also regularly used as a top-six forward. The Capitals have a fairly solid top-six as it is and Erat will have a tough time cracking it.
Even their third line of Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, and Joel Ward seems set, at least in the short term.
This is an issue that Oates doesn’t have an immediate answer for, according to CSN Washington, but barring an injury, Erat might not get much of an opportunity.
The 32-year-old forward wanted out of Nashville, which disappointed Predators GM David Poile and led to some verbal jabs from former teammate Mike Fisher.
For his part, Erat’s willing to “do what’s best for the team.” He still has two seasons left on his contract with a $4.5 million annual cap hit. That should be plenty of motivation for a Capitals team up against the salary cap to come with a solution to this problem.
Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf was banged up in his team’s overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night and it is bad enough to keep him out of the lineup entirely on Wednesday when they host the Nashville Predators.
The Ducks announced the news just before puck drop on Wednesday.
Getzlaf played only 10 minutes on Tuesday night before exiting the game.
The Ducks are also playing without goaltender Jonathan Bernier who was also injured on Tuesday, resulting in the team calling up Dustin Tokarski for Wednesday’s game. Tokarski will serve as the backup for John Gibson.
Getzlaf is definitely the bigger loss here for the Ducks on Wednesday, not only because Gibson was likely to start this game anyway, but because Getzlaf is one of their absolute best players.
Still one of the NHL’s top playmakers, Getzlaf has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in the Ducks’ first seven games. That includes a three assist game against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak has had a busy night on Wednesday.
After opening the scoring just 10 seconds into their game against the New York Rangers, he might have brought some unwanted attention upon himself when he was given a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head of Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi in the second period.
It all happened as Girardi was attempting to knock a puck down out of mid-air when Pastrnak came in with a crushing high hit. Girardi was shaken up as a result of the hit and briefly exited the game before later returning after missing a couple of shifts.
The Bruins ended up successfully killing the two minute penalty to Pastrnak, but quickly gave up a pair of goals later in the period to allow the Rangers to take a 3-2 lead.
The next question now is whether or not the NHL’s department of player safety steps in and issues any additional discipline. Any further discipline would seem like a real long-shot at this point.
Pastrnak still had a skate on the ice at the time of contact with Girardi, and while there was contact with Girardi’s head there was also contact with his chest as well. Girardi also returned to the game, and whether or not there is an injury does play a role into the decision.
For the second year in a row the Montreal Canadiens are storming out of the gate to open the season.
Thanks to their 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night the Canadiens are off to a 6-0-1 start and have the best record in the league through their first seven games.
Even though Wednesday’s game was only decided by a single goal, it was a particularly strong effort and perhaps one of their best of the young season. The biggest reason the game remained so close for so long was because of the play of Thomas Greiss in the Islanders crease during the second and third periods where Montreal had a commanding edge on the shot chart. This game could have easily shifted heavily in Montreal’s favor, and the fact it did not is a testament to the way Griess played.
But the star of the night was — once again — Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber as he continued his incredible start with his new team.
With less than three minutes to play in regulation, Weber broke a 2-2 tie with his third goal of the season on a shot that seems like it was probably close to breaking the sound barrier.
OK … maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but just look at this thing.
How do you stop that? Why would you want to get in front of it?
Weber also assisted on Philip Danault‘s goal earlier in the period. He now has nine points in his first seven games with the Canadiens.
As we saw a year ago with the Canadiens won their first nine games (and then missed the playoffs) a fast start doesn’t guarantee anything over the course of an 82-game season. But this year’s Canadiens should have something last year’s Canadiens didn’t have over the final five months of the season — Carey Price. These guys might be pretty good.
After getting blown out on Tuesday night and having to go with a rookie goalie making his first career start in New York on Wednesday, the Boston Bruins really needed a strong start against the Rangers.
That is exactly what they got when David Pastrnak gave them an early lead just 10 seconds into the game when he capitalized on a Nick Holden giveaway.
The play all started right off the opening faceoff when Holden gave the puck away to Zdeno Chara in the neutral zone. Chara quickly moved it along to Marchand who drew both Rangers defenders leaving Pastrnak wide open for a one-on-one chance against Henrik Lundqvist.
The result: Pastrnak’s fifth goal of the season and an early 1-0 lead.