With Sunday's 4-3 win over the Blues in St. Louis now in the books, the Caps' seven-game exhibition schedule is now mercifully in the books as well. The Caps endured a four-game losing slide during which they scored just three goals, but Sunday's win enables them to finish up the preseason with a positive feeling.
Washington scored twice in the third period to erase a 3-2 St. Louis lead, and it had to kill off a five-on-three power play of 65 seconds in duration at the start of the third before mounting that comeback.
"Once we killed that off, it gave us a boost," says Caps coach Barry Trotz. "So good on the penalty killers and those guys."
Video: Coach Trotz talks after a 4-3 win in St. Louis
The Caps managed only three shots on net in the third, but two of them got past Blues goalie Jake Allen. John Carlson tied the game at 3:40 of the third period, and Devante Smith-Pelly set up Brett Connolly for the game-winner with 4:26 remaining.
Evens Eruption - After netting just eight goals in their first half a dozen preseason games and scoring just three of those goals at five-on-five, the Caps erupted for four five-on-five goals in Sunday's preseason finale.
Step Right Up - As mentioned earlier, there wasn't much to the Caps' attack during the 2017 preseason, and all three Washington's five-on-five goals heading into Sunday's finale came from the team's bottom six. That was mostly the case against the Blues, too, as the bottom six accounted for three of the four goals. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov combined to set up Carlson's game-tying tally, the only goal that the bottom six did not produce.
Video: Devante Smith-Pelly talks after #CapsBlues
But on Sunday in St. Louis, Trotz seemed pleased with the performances of some of his best and highest paid players, including the ones whose job descriptions doesn't include scoring goals.
"We got some of our big guys stepping up and making some plays," says Trotz. "Kuzy and [Ovechkin] I thought made a really good play, and then we got some contributions from guys like Connolly and Smith-Pelly. But I thought the tone was set with a couple of our guys. Especially I thought Brooks Orpik was really, really good back there, and [Matt Niskanen] on the back end really took charge back there for us today. Good job by all."
Video: Caps end the preseason on a high note
Bad Ratio - Washington's penalty killing outfit faced 43 opposition power plays in seven preseason games while the Caps enjoyed the extra-man advantage just 24 times in the same span. The Caps will need to curtail some of those calls against them; they have a potentially strong penalty killing unit again but the group was seriously taxed too often during the preseason.
By The Numbers - Niskanen led Washington with 25:55 in ice time, and he led Caps defensemen with 5:58 in shorthanded ice time … Jay Beagle led all Caps with 6:18 in shorthanded ice time … Carlson and Niskanen led the Caps with four shots on net each, and Ovechkin and Carlson led the team with seven shot attempts each … Orpik led the Capitals with five hits … Taylor Chorney paced the Caps with three blocked shots … Lars Eller won nine of 13 face-offs (69%).