Lars Eller scored a powerplay goal and Braden Holtby made a bunch of saves in his first game back from the World Cup of Hockey as the Washington Capitals beat the Islanders in a preseason game at Bridgeport, Connecticut on Saturday night.
Defenseman Nate Schmidt scored for the Caps in the first period and assisted on Eller’s game-winner. Anders Lee tied the game for the Islanders early in the third period by knocking in a rebound at the front of the Caps’ net. But with Steve Bernier in the box, Eller scored with about nine minutes to go on a one-timer from the right circle. The Caps didn’t give the young Islanders much of an opportunity to re-tie the game after that.
Holtby was excellent, showing very little rust for a guy who hasn’t played in a game in over two weeks. The 2016 Vezina Trophy winner was Team Canada’s third stringer at the World Cup. Let that sink in, in case you still had any questions about just how stacked that team was.
Islanders goalie Jean-Francois Berube played the entire game and also looked very good, allowing only Schmidt’s screened slapshot and Eller’s powerplay blast. Other Islanders who stood out were Anthony Beauvillier, who showed a ton of energy throughout, and Mathew Barzal, who flashed some skill against the Caps defense but didn’t score.
The Caps played a very structured game defensively, especially late, and Holtby was where he needed to be nearly every time.
The game was played at the home arena of the Islanders AHL affiliate, but was broadcast on MSG+2 via the Capitals feed from CSN Mid Atlantic. A few things we learned from the Washington TV Crew were:
- Nate Schmidt leads the NHL in smiles.
- The Caps probably won’t lose a game all season.
- Prospect Riley Barber will definitely be a Hall of Famer.
In fairness, they also had good things to say about Beauvillier, even if it took then 30 minutes to get his name right.
The Islanders’ next preseason game is Monday night at Barclays Center against the Devils, who hung on to beat the Rangers 5-4 tonight.