Grabovski nets a hat trick, Caps fall in opener
The Washington Capitals opened their 2013-14 in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. After a lengthy pre-game celebration, the Caps fell to the Hawks 6-4 in the season opener.
Mikhail Grabovski was signed in the off-season to replace the departed Mike Ribeiro. Grabo came up big for the Caps, netting a hat trick in his Caps debut, a first for the franchise. The Caps took a 3-2 lead early in this third period with 2 power play tallies by Grabovski, fed by D Mike Green, who had a 2 point night with 2 assists. But sloppy play late in the third period and a soft goal allowed by Caps netminder Braden Holtby, allowed the Hawks to escape with the 6-4 decision. Caps fans have to love the way Grabovski played, sitting in front of the net and getting key deflections that led to goals.
Grabo finished the night with 4 points, having netted a hat trick and grabbing an assist, essentially factoring into all the goals scored by the Caps. Grabovski scored a goal late in the second period and two more in the first five minutes of the third period.
Alexander Ovechkin scored his first of the season, coming in the first period, ten seconds into a power play. It was Washington’s first power play goal of the season. Overall, the Caps put up three power play tallies in five man advantages, but came up with a big flop late in the game when it mattered, failing to capitalize on a gifted 5 on 3 advantage. The penalty kill unit was successful on 3 of 4 kills.
The Caps have got to sure up defensive play when leading. They grabbed a lead twice in the third period, but were unable to hold. The game winning tally for the Hawks was on Holtby. It was a knuckler type goal that appeared to heading wide of the goal, but Holtby attempted to grab it with his glove,and the puck trickled into the net, giving the Hawks the late lead they would not relinquish.
The Caps face off with Calgary on Thursday at the Verizon Center.