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The Blue & Gray Press | September 22, 2017

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Washington Capitals showing they can live up to expectations early

Washington Capitals showing they can live up to expectations early

By SEAN KINSLOW

As in every year, the Washington Capitals have started the 2015-2016 season with a few new faces under their hockey masks, most notably Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie, who bring veteran leadership and championship experience to the team.

Despite a 1-0 loss Tuesday night at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings, the Caps sit with a record of 10-4 on the season. This is good enough for third place currently in the Eastern Conference.

The Capitals have been led by long-time superstar and team captain Alexander Ovechkin, who currently leads the team with eight goals.

Other long-time Capitals Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson have also had strong starts to the season. Starting goalie Braden Holtby has had a respectable start to this young season as well. Holtby has won eight of the 12 games he has started, saving 92% of the shots fired at him.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, a rookie for the Caps in 2014, has had a tremendous start to the season. He is second only to Ovechkin in points on the team with 15. If Kuznetsov can keep up his hot start to the season, the Capitals will be in good shape. This unexpected jump in production can provide the Capitals with a true star on their second line if he can continue at this rate.

The Capitals also made some key offseason additions including acquiring American Olympic star T.J. Oshie and Stanley Cup winning forward Justin Williams. Oshie has had thestronger start between these two new Caps. He has had four goals and four assists so far this year. Williams  has scored two goals and recorded nine assists thus far on the young season, while his real impact will come once the playoffs start. His experience in the Stanley Cup playoffs will prove to be valuable coming up this spring.

Although the Capitals have started hot, there have been a couple of head scratching losses where the team has struggled and lost to teams they should have beaten.

“It is a process, especially when you have new people, a new culture,” Trotz said in a recent press conference. “The first 20 games is a real learning process. At that point last year, we started to get it a little bit and went forward. It does take some time. So be patient.” Junior English major and avid hockey fan Tyler Pospisil said that “the Capitals are a contender every year. With their early success and strong lineup, I would be surprised if they did not make the playoffs. They will be a good team come playoff time.”

The Capitals look to continue their solid season next on Thursday Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. They will take on the Flyers on the road in Philadelphia. The game will be broadcasted on TV on Comcast Sportsnet, students can watch on Mary Washington channel 59.

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