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#CapsDevils Postgame Notebook: Killing With Kindness

Slow start, penalties and tough night on the PK are too much for Caps to overcome, Graovac continues to impress, more

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps / Monumental Sports Network

Killing With Kindness - Washington was whistled for four minor penalties in the first period, and all four New Jersey goals came as a result. The Devils scored three power-play goals, and the other - Will Butcher's game-winner - came on a delayed penalty against the Caps.

Video: WSH Recap: Graovac scores, but Capitals lose, 4-1

New Jersey needed a total of only 96 seconds of power play time with which to score those three extra-man markers. The Devils scored on three of their six power-play shots on goal in the first period, and the Caps were guilty of failing to clear the zone when they had the opportunity to do so. 

Caps forward Tyler Graovac was again a standout for Washington, turning in his third straight strong showing and netting the Caps' lone goal. He was on the ice for two of the Devils' power-play goals, and spoke to that subject afterwards, unprompted. 

"For me coming to this camp," says Graovac, "I'm trying to show everything that I have. But it also gets to the point where you let two or three PK goals in, and you're on the PK, you've got to take responsibility for it and you have to make the proper adjustments.

"For me, I want to take that opportunity and have that responsibility this year. It's just going to be adjustments; it's still early. But we definitely have to figure it out before we move forward."

Video: Coach Trotz talks to media after #CapsDevils

Start! - A lackluster first 15 minutes and a lack of discipline did the Capitals in on Wednesday night in their home preseason finale. By the three-quarter mark of the first, the visiting New Jersey Devils had twice as much offense as they would require in a 4-1 win over Washington.

"I think we were just a little bit too sloppy," says Caps defenseman John Carlson. "We didn't execute, and when you're not doing that it's harder to read off people, make good plays and have some rhythm to the game. It just wasn't good enough in the first period, that's for sure." 

The Devils had twice as many goals as the Caps had shots on goal (two) with five minutes left in the frame. Washington righted its ship after 20 minutes, but the first-period ditch proved to be too deep. 

"Right away, we picked it up," says Carlson. "But you can't expect to do much when you're putting yourself into a hole like that."  

Lone Goal - Graovac scored his first goal of the preseason and the Caps' only goal of the game at 2:41 of the second period. Jay Beagle started the play when he corralled an errant pass near the New Jersey line, then carried down low on the right side. Spotting Graovac over his left shoulder, Beagle put the puck on net, low and hard. Devils goalie Cory Schneider made the stop, but kicked the rebound right out to an onrushing Graovac, who easily buried it.

"We had talked about it earlier, getting pucks to the net," says Graovac. "That's the biggest thing for us. I think [Beagle] almost looked at me before he shot it, and he saw me going. I think that's the best pass in hockey."

Video: Caps Postgame Locker Room | September 27

Roster Trims - Four more players were pared off of Washington's training camp roster after Wednesday's game. Goaltender Pheonix Copley, defensemen Tyler Lewington and Jonas Siegenthaler and center Travis Boyd were sent to AHL Hershey. None of the four must clear waivers.

Those cuts leave the Caps with 26 players remaining in camp: 16 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders. At least three - and more than likely four - more players must be trimmed before Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline for opening night rosters. Expect the Capitals to pare one more defenseman and two or three forwards before that deadline. 

The Caps open the 2017-18 regular season on Thu. Oct. 5 in Ottawa. 

By The Numbers - Dmitry Orlov paced the Capitals with 23:05 in ice time … Matt Niskanen and Jakub Vrana led the way with four shots on net each; Niskanen's seven shot attempts were tops on the team … Niskanen and Brooks Orpik led the Caps with four hits each … Madison Bowey led the Capitals with four blocked shots … Lars Eller won 10 of 13 face-offs (77%).

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