The Washington Capitals got first-rate production out of their second line on Monday. The Detroit Red Wings will try to slow down the Capitals’ imposing offense when they match up in Washington on Wednesday.
T.J. Oshie delivered his fifth career hat trick in Washington’s 7-5 win over Ottawa on Monday. The second line’s center, Connor McMichael, collected the first two points of his career on assists. Anthony Mantha also added an assist.
“I thought he was really good (Monday),” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said of Oshie. “He worked really hard. He turned over a lot of pucks. I thought his line was good. But you could notice, Oshie was moving and making a difference just by the forecheck and turning things over.”
The first-line production was solid as well, with Alex Ovechkin producing two goals. He has now scored 737 for his career.
“Lots of goals, lots of action,” Ovechkin said. “We’ll take the two points and move forward.”
It’s been a strong start for the Capitals, who haven’t lost in regulation in six games. Ovechkin has led the way, as usual, with seven goals and five assists.
Overall, the Capitals have produced 26 goals, second most in the NHL, despite modest production from their power play (three goals in 21 opportunities).
The Red Wings also had a hat trick in their last game, a 6-3 victory at Chicago on Sunday. Rookie Lucas Raymond achieved the feat in just his sixth NHL game.
The 19-year-old has seven points in six games playing on the first line with center Dylan Larkin and wing Tyler Bertuzzi.
“Doesn’t seem like a 19-year-old to me,” Larkin said. “He’s mature beyond his years. I feel like when I was 19, I made a lot of mistakes. I was skating 1,000 miles an hour. I had a lot to learn. Lucas seems like he plays on the right side of the puck. He doesn’t cheat much, which is a big value here. He plays the right way and he gets rewarded for it.”
The game on Wednesday will have a little extra meaning for Larkin. He’ll be facing his ex-linemate, Mantha, for the first time.
Mantha was dealt to Washington at last season’s trade deadline. The Wings acquired Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a first-round pick in this year’s draft and a second-round pick in the 2022 draft for him.
“It will be strange,” Larkin said. “I’ve talked to him. He was back here in the summer, training here. I expect him to be highly motivated and when we’ve seen that out of him, we know he can be a dangerous player.”
Vrana would have been on the first line instead of Raymond if he hadn’t suffered a shoulder injury. He’s out indefinitely. Panik is no longer with the team.
Filip Hronek, arguably the Wings’ top defenseman last season, has been a healthy scratch the last two games. Hronek might return to the lineup on Wednesday, as Gustav Lindstrom will sit out with an undisclosed injury.
“He’s well-respected in the locker room,” Larkin said of Hronek. “The guys love him. We want to be there for him. He’ll show up for us, we know that.”
–Field Level Media