Cross-country road trips are usually very tough on teams, especially early in the season. Teams are usually just learning themselves and trying to get acclimated to new teammates and building camaraderie while learning themselves in the process. In the first two weeks of the season, it looks as if the offense is on its way to another super season.
In winning all three games of the Canadian West Coast trip, the Capitals have established themselves as an early-favorite to contend for the Stanley Cup this season. In the first game of the tip, Alexander Ovechkin recorded his 900th NHL point with his fourth goal of the season and Nicklas Backstrom scored twice in a 6-2 win over Calgary. Ovechkin continues to add the accolades to an already storied career. His 479 goals are the most in the NHL since 2001-02, despite not starting his NHL career until 2005.
The next game pitted the Caps vs the perennial Western Conference stalwarts from Vancouver. As expected, this game was nip and tuck until Evgeny Kuznetsov fed Ovechkin on a 2-1 odd man rush for a slapshot that found the net with under 5 minutes remaining to give the Caps a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish. Goalie Braden Holtby made 23 saves for his 5th win in the early season. The final game of the trip became the coming out party for second year center Evgeny Kuznetsov as he netted three goals for his first NHL hat trick and added two assists to help the Capitals beat the Edmonton Oilers 7-4 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory.
Playing their third game in four nights, the Capitals improved to 6-1-0.
“We knew it was a big road trip for us. It was our first road trip,” Ovechkin said. “We’re obviously happy to take these points.”
Coming home to face the hated Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night, the Caps need to bring the same effort as they have so far into this coming week.