Backstrom says there's still work to do in preseason
Instant analysis of the Caps’ 5-4 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night at Verizon Center in their fourth of eight preseason games:
Going the distance: The shootout was the fourth straight for the Caps in the preseason. Adam Oates went with Jason Chimera, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom as his shooters and all were stopped by Chicago netminder Antti Raanta. Jonathan Toews scored the only goal in the shootout, beating David Leggio with a sweet move.
Dynamic duo: In what could be a glimpse into the Caps’ future, Tom Wilson [16th overall in 2012] and Andre Burakovsky [23rd overall in 2013] were an offensive threat every time they hopped over the boards with Hershey-bound center Jeff Taffe.
Burakovsky used his speed to knife through the Chicago defense on several occasions and beat two defensemen to the puck behind the net to set up Wilson for a game-tying goal in the second period.
Wilson played a hard physical game, scoring a goal and dropping the gloves [but somehow not his stick] with Kyle Beach after Beach drove him into the boards with hard, clean hip check. [Not sure how the two fought with a stick between them but it made for a funny replay].
On the flip side, the Burakovsy-Taffe-Wilson line was also on the ice for two Chicago goals.
MoJo Rising: Marcus Johansson played with incredible jump and precision, setting up goals by linemates Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.
Defenseman John Carlson also had a hand in both goals, getting the secondary assist on Backstrom’s tic-tac-toe goal and setting up a power-play one-timer for Ovechkin from his favorite spot – the left faceoff dot.
Neuvy struggles: Michal Neuvirth entered the game with 60 minutes of shutout hockey in two preseason appearances, but he allowed three goals on 17 shots before leaving midway through Friday night’s game.
Neuvirth surrendered a no-screen laser to Dylan Olsen before Jeremy Morin walked through Eric Fehr and Jason Chimera and beat him blocker side. Brad Winchester sent Neuvirth to the bench when he squirted one past him from the right wing boards.
Chimmer me timbers: Left wing Jason Chimera had a strong game, setting up linemate Eric Fehr for a goal , getting onto the forecheck with his speed and throwing his body around. Joel Ward also looked strong on that line.
Seventh D: If there is a race between Dmitry Orlov and Tomas Kundratek for the role of seventh defenseman, it appears Kundratek has a slight edge. The two were paired together against the Hawks but were a minus-2.
What’s next: The Caps will practice at Kettler beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, before heading over to the Convention Center for the Caps Convention.