Capitals put 4-1 road record on line in Calgary
The first chapter of the Washington Capitals' five-game road trip was a success. Beating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 on Sunday before heading to Calgary to face the Flames on Tuesday has the Capitals believing great things can happen during their sojourn, which runs through Western Canada before ending in Toronto.
"It's a long trip, and if you lose the first one, you don't know what happens on the second one. It can make for kind of a tough one," forward T.J. Oshie told NHL.com after his club's victory over the Blackhawks. "It's nice to get the win in the first one. Obviously maybe not our best game, but we found a way to win. That's encouraging going forward on this long trip."
Sure, the Windy City win wasn't pretty -- Washington blew a two-goal lead in the third period before pulling away -- but the Metropolitan Division leaders have won four of five road games this season.
Plus, the Capitals have a couple of big things going for them these days.
Defenseman John Carlson has been an offensive force to start the season. Carlson, the league's second star of the week who is riding a seven-game point-streak, leads the NHL with 18 points -- becoming just the third defenseman in history to record 18 points in his team's first 10 games of the season (a feat reached twice by Bobby Orr and once by Paul Coffey).
Also, No. 1 goalie Braden Holtby appears to have found his form. He has stopped 67 of 72 shots in last past two games, rebounding from a horrid performance a week ago against Colorado in which he surrendered three goals on three shots before being pulled.
"He's definitely got his calm demeanor back," Tom Wilson said of Holtby. "He's one of those guys where if there are pucks flying everywhere, he just seems to swallow them up and he's our rock. He's an extremely good leader on the ice, off the ice. I'm happy for him."
The Flames arrive home after a tightly fought 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, a game in which backup goalie Cam Talbot made 29 saves, including several big opportunities in the final 10 minutes.
Calgary has won three of four games, but the loss in that bunch -- Saturday night against the Kings in Los Angeles -- was one of the team's worst performances in years, and the lack of consistency remains a sticking point.
"We have to be realistic of where we're at," coach Bill Peters said. "We're still a little bit inconsistent ... there are a lot of things we can do better. We're well aware of that. The standards are pretty high, and we haven't played to those standards on a consistent basis."
The Flames have been a middling club to this point, so everyone is well aware they must string together several victories to climb the standings.
"I thought everyone took accountability from (Saturday) night and came out played for each other tonight," Talbot said after the win in Anaheim. "There was a lot of good things that we did tonight and which we need to do moving forward. ... I liked our battle level, I liked our compete, our work ethic and our dedication in our own zone to get those pucks out when we needed them."
--Field Level Media
Updated October 21, 2019