Instant analysis: Caps 4, Predators 1

Instant analysis: Caps 4, Predators 1
September 25, 2013, 9:15 pm
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Instant Analysis of the Capitals’ 4-1 preseason win over the Nashville Predators Wednesday night in front of a sparse crowd at Verizon Center:

Game in a nutshell: After two games at center, Eric Fehr enjoyed his first game back on the right side, scoring a pair of goals on assists from Mikhail Grabovski in the Caps’ first regulation game of the preseason. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin added goals, Grabovski finished with three assists and Michal Neuvirth stopped 33-of-34 shots for the win.

Nice start: The Caps are now 3-0-3 in the preseason. They’ve scored 20 goals and have allowed 18.

Opening night blue line?: The Caps went with what is likely to be their starting six on the blue line against the Preds. From left to right, Karl Alzner played with Mike Green, John Erskine played with John Carlson, and Jack Hillen was paired with Steve Oleksy. With Tomas Kundratek in waiver limbo until 3 p.m. on Thursday, the race for the seventh defenseman appears to be down to Dmitry Orlov and Connor Carrick.

Power play units: The Caps have not yet played their full lineup, but we saw a glimpse into their power play units. On the first unit, Mike Green played the point, Alex Ovechkin set up in the left circle, Troy Brouwer played in the slot and Nicklas Backstrom and Mikhail Grabovsky took turns quarterbacking between the right halfwall and the right side of the net. The second unit had John Carlson at the point, Jack Hillen in the left faceoff circle, Jay Beagle in the slot and Marty Erat and Marcus Johansson trading off between the right halfwall and the right side of the net.

Killers: Adam Oates split his penalty killing between his veterans and AHL prospects. Dane Byers, Eric Fehr, Steve Oleksy and Karl Alzner were on one unit, while Michael Latta, Jason Chimera, John Erskine and John Carlson played together on a second unit.

First a chipmunk, then…: Predators center Mike Fisher doesn’t drop the gloves that often, so it was strange to see him fight Steve Oleksy in the second period. Fisher proved he’s got quick hands this summer when he cornered a chipmunk behind a toilet and paid the price.

Beagle fights: It wasn’t much of a bout with Rich Clune, but Jay Beagle recorded his first fighting major since Oct. 13, 2011 when he was decked by Arron Asham in Pittsburgh and missed half the season with a concussion. Beagle came out of his first fight well.  

Look ahead: The Caps will practice at Kettler on Thursday. They’ll play their final home preseason game Friday night against the Flyers, then head to Chicago for their final exhibition contest Saturday night. They are expected to get the day off on Sunday in preparation for Tuesday night’s opener in Chicago against the Hawks.