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Capitals look to get into win column against Flames

by Corey Masisak /

FLAMES (0-0-0) at CAPITALS (0-1-0)


Season series: This is the first time the Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals have met since Jan. 3, 2012, which was a 3-1 victory for Washington at Verizon Center. There are only five players on Calgary's current roster who played in that game for the Flames.

Big story: It is the home opener for the Capitals, who will raise a final Southeast Division banner before trying to tighten up defensively after a 6-4 loss to start the season against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Team Scope:

Flames: Calgary beings its first season without Jarome Iginla since 1995-96, as well as its first with Brian Burke as part of the management team. This will definitely be a younger Flames team. Sean Monahan, the sixth pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, is expected to make his NHL debut. The team's first-rounder in 2011, Sven Baertschi (No. 13), will also begin his first full NHL season, though he's had a disappointing training camp.

"It's a lot like farming," Burke said. "Sometimes you've got to plant the field and you've just got to sit and wait. You can weed if you want. You can do some other things, but basically you've got to wait and you've got to see what that crop is, you've got to see if the weather cooperates and sometimes you've got to wait and see.

"What do we have? What are we going to have? What are some of these young guys going to turn into? I think it's a fair question, but we get paid to be patient."

Capitals: Free-agent signee Mikhail Grabovski's debut was certainly a success; he scored a hat trick and added an assist. Alex Ovechkin, the 2013 Hart Trophy winner, scored one of the team's three power-play goals. Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green each had two points.

Other areas clearly need some work. There were multiple defensive breakdowns, and Braden Holtby allowed five goals on 34 shots, including a soft one on the game-winner by Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya.

"I didn't do a good enough job tonight," Holtby said to Mike Vogel of Caps365. "There were two goals -- obviously the second one that goes off Greenie at the side of the net and in, and then the last one -- which are plays that you can't really practice too much. They just kind of happen. But the other ones I know I have to work on those and make sure that I bail the guys out in those situations."

Injury report: The Flames put Mike Cammalleri (hand) on injured reserve to start the season. … Capitals forward Brooks Laich (groin) was questionable for the season opener, but he played against the Blackhawks.


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