Penner a net presence in Capitals debut

Penner a net presence in Capitals debut
March 6, 2014, 10:15 am
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News and notes from the Capitals’ 6-4 loss to the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center:

Penner factor: Newly acquired power forward Dustin Penner took 23 shifts and logged 16:50 of ice time, 2:51 coming on the power play. He recorded one shot, two hits and was even on the plus-minus sheet.

“Not bad,” Penner said when asked how he felt after a cross-continental flight from Los Angeles the day before. “It’s always an adjustment. Hopefully, it won’t take more than tonight to feel comfortable.

“There are little tweaks. Systems aren’t as tough as figuring out tendencies of players. That’s what I’m trying to attain.”

Penner started out on a line with Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer, but finished the game with Brooks Laich as his center when Caps coach Adam Oates bumped Johansson onto the top line with Nicklas Backstrom [2 assists] and Alex Ovechkin [1 goal, 1 assist].

Penner gave the Capitals a different look on the power play, parking his 6-foot-4, 247-pound frame in front of Steve Mason to free up room for Ovechkin’s power play goal in the third period.

“In and around the front of the net is usually where I end up,” Penner said. “It’s something I’ve been able to pride myself on in the NHL, to have a net presence and make room for other players.”

RELATED: [Ovechkin notches PP goal against Flyers (VIDEO)]

Penner said he’s always known the Caps to be a high-scoring team and they proved it to him by roaring back from a 4-0 deficit to close within one goal Wednesday night. He said they’ll need that same effort from the drop of the puck tonight in Boston [7 p.m., CSN].

“When you get into opposing teams’ rinks you need to keep it 0-0 and don’t let the home crowd get into it,” Penner said. “We weren’t able to do that and let them have a 4-0 lead. We showed a lot of resiliency and pride in this locker room to bring it back and make it a game.”

Hillen update: Defenseman Jack Hillen logged 21:10 of ice time in his first NHL game since fracturing his right leg on Oct. 3 against Calgary. Paired with Mike Green, Hillen picked up an assist on a beautiful cross-ice feed to Troy Brouwer.

“I thought Jack had a tough start to the game,” Oates said, referring to him being on the ice for two of the Flyers’ first four goals, “and in the second half he played very well.”

Where they stand: The Caps finished their season series against the Flyers with a 2-2-1 record, outscoring them 12-4 in the first two games, then getting outscored 16-10 in three straight.defeats. Despite the loss, the Caps are still just two points behind the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division, and one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final wild card spot.

Meeting Halak: New goaltender Jaroslav Halak has joined the Caps in Boston and is expected to get the call tonight in TD Garden. Halak has a career record of 8-3-0 against the Bruins with a 1.86 GAA and .942 save percentage. Halak’s last win came against the Bruins back on Feb. 6.