Hockey is back!
The Capitals will play in their first preseason game of the 2018-19 season in Boston at 1pm. The players making the trip include Andre Burakovsky, Jakub Vrana, and Brett Connolly.
Pheonix Copley and Vitek Vanecek will split the time in goal, while both are competing for the backup role in Washington this season.
Typically, a team has to dress eight veteran players in a preseason game, but since the Boston Bruins are currently playing in exhibitions in China, the NHL has relaxed that rule for this game. Each team is only required to dress six veterans.
The NHL’s definition of a preseason veteran includes players with more than 100 career games and players who were taken in the first round of the most recent draft.
#Caps preseason opener in Boston is less than 48 hours away. Normally, road team must dress eight *veteran* players for exhibition games. Because B's have half squad half the rock away in China for tilts vs Flames, rule has been relaxed. Caps need bring only six vets on Sunday.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) September 14, 2018
More from the Capitals game notes:
STARTING IT OFF – The Capitals begin the preseason Sunday against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Washington will play seven games this preseason, with four being on the road. Washington has played four road games in each of the last six preseasons. Since 2015-16, the Capitals are 6-3-3 in road preseason games. In addition, the Capitals have won 71 away games over the last three seasons, the most in the NHL.
STANLEY CAPS – Five players who appeared in the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 5 win will appear in this game. Jakub Vrana recorded the opening goal in Game 5 and finished the playoffs with three goals, while both Brett Connolly and Andre Burakovsky recorded assists on Lars Eller’s Cup-clinching goal. Christian Djoos was the Capitals’ youngest defenseman to appear in that game. Chandler Stephenson holds the distinction of being the only rookie in franchise history to record a shorthanded goal in the playoffs.
BRUISING THE BRUINS – The Capitals will play the Bruins in the preseason for the first time since Oct. 2, 2015. The Capitals have won 12 consecutive games against the Bruins in the regular season (10/11/14-12/28/17), marking their longest winning streak against Boston in franchise history (157 GP). The Caps are the only team in the NHL to record 10 or more consecutive wins against a single opponent over the last four seasons in the NHL. Washington has outscored the Bruins 41-19 during its winning streak.
MANNING THE NET – Pheonix Copley is scheduled to start in net, while Vitek Vanecek will serve as the backup. Copley, 26, posted a record of 15-17-6 record with two shutouts, a 2.91 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage in 41 games with Hershey last season. Copley also posted a 26-11-3 record with one shutout, a 2.25 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in 41 AHL games with the Chicago Wolves and Hershey Bears in 2016-17. The North Pole, Alaska, native ranked seventh in the AHL in goals-against average, tied for seventh in wins and tied for eighth in save percentage. In 142 career AHL games with Hershey and Chicago, Copley posted a 72-47-15 record with nine shutouts, a 2.53 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. Copley appeared in two career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues. Copley made his NHL debut on Feb. 27, 2016, at Nashville and made 24 saves in his first career NHL start on Jan. 21, 2017 at Winnipeg. Vanecek, 22, appeared in 32 games with Hershey last season and recorded a 3.04 goals against average and a .888 save percentage.
CAPS CONNECTIONS – Brian Pinho was born in nearby North Andover, Mass. Pinho registered 32 points (12g, 20a) in 40 games with Providence College (NCAA) in 2017-18. He tied a career high in goals with the Friars last season and finished second on the team in scoring. Pinho, who served as captain last season, was awarded the team’s Lou Lamoriello Award (Team MVP) for the second-straight season, earned the Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward Award, the Frank Jones Award as New England’s Best Defensive Forward and was named to Hockey East’s Third All-Star Team.
HOME GROWN – In total, 14 players selected by Washington in the NHL draft are in the lineup for Washington on Sunday, including 2016 third round draft pick Garrett Pilon. Pilon recorded 80 points (34g, 46a) in 69 games with the Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips (WHL) last season. The 5’11”, 187-pound right wing set WHL career highs in goals, assists and points in 2017-18 and recorded 24 multi-point games. In addition, Pilon led Everett with 28 points (11g, 17a) in 22 playoff games and helped the Silvertips reach the WHL Championship
FORMER BRUINS – Brett Connolly and assistant coach Scott Arniel have both played for the Bruins. Connolly appeared in 76 games with Boston between the 2014-15 season and the 2015-16 season, finishing with 27 points (9g, 18a). Connolly has scored 15 goals in each of his last two seasons with the Capitals, which is a career high. Arniel appeared in 29 games for Boston in the 1991-92 season. Arniel, 55, joins Washington after spending the past five seasons as an associate coach with the New York Rangers. Arniel brings more than 15 years of professional coaching experience, which includes serving as head coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2010-12. In addition, the Kingston, Ont., native compiled a 218-136-21-21 record in five seasons as head coach in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves and the Manitoba Moose. Arniel guided the Moose to the Calder Cup Finals in 2009 after posting franchise records with 50 wins and 107 points to finish atop the AHL standings. Arniel captured the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award that season as the AHL Coach of the Year.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk
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