Caps coach Barry Trotz said earlier this week that players would be evaluated on their performances during training camp scrimmages, and on Sunday morning the team conducted its first intrasquad scrimmage of camp when Team Red went up against Team Blue in a 45-minute, informal running clock scrimmage.
Clearly the players were aware of being evaluated, because there was a good bit of pace and physicality to the morning scrimmage. In the end, Team Blue came out on top by a 4-0 count, getting a goal from each of its four lines.
Brett Connolly started the scoring with a power move to the net after taking a sharp, cross-ice feed from John Carlson. Evgeny Kuznetsov was the benefactor of some good wall work behind the net from linemate Alex Chiasson; Chiasson was able to win the puck and feed Kuznetsov in front. The Washington pivot snapped a shot past goaltender Pheonix Copley to make it 2-0.
Video: Caps 365 | September 17
Rookie winger Nathan Walker had a couple of prime scoring chances early, but failed to finish on both. He made up for it later on with a strong second effort goal at the top of the paint. After Copley made an excellent left pad stop to deny the first opportunity, Walker calmly collected the rebound and lifted it into the cage to make it 3-0 for Team Blue.
The Blue crew scored its fourth goal when Travis Boyd took a breakout feed and gained the zone, leaving the puck at the right point for Chris Bourque. Bourque went to Tim McGauley at the left circle, and McGauley rifled a shot high to the far corner to account for the final Blue tally.
Bright spots for Team Red included defenseman Dmitry Orlov and the top forward trio of Jakub Vrana, Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky.
Sunday was a practice day for the third camp group - Team White. The Caps will bring 20-plus players to Newark on Monday for the team's exhibition opener against the New Jersey Devils on Monday, and the players who are left behind will engage in another camp scrimmage at Kettler at 11:30 a.m.