Brooks Laich’s wonky groin will keep him out for a third consecutive game on Tuesday when Washington hosts Carolina at Verizon — but his absence might not be as negative as first thought.
Since Laich’s injury, the Caps are 2-0-0 with wins over Montreal and the Islanders, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process. According to head coach Adam Oates, the Caps’ ability to keep within their system regardless of who’s in the lineup is the key to success.
“I keep reinforcing that there’s only a certain way to play,” Oates told the Washington Post. “You’ve got to give yourself those chances because it’s an 82-game schedule. A lot of different things can happen. We’re seeing that on a night-to-night basis. They all know that. They’ve just got to be reminded of that.”
Laich’s absence forced Oates to shuffle the deck, and it appears some chemistry came from it.
The new-look third line of Jay Beagle, Joel Ward and Jason Chimera was extremely aggressive in the wins over the Habs and Isles while Mikhail Grabovski and Eric Fehr — who connected on the second line prior to Laich getting hurt — have also looked good, combining for five points in last two games.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: