12 games into the season, the defending champion Washington Capitals are only one game over .500 and have struggled with turnovers and team defense. Monday morning, ahead of the Caps’ game against the Edmonton Oilers, head coach Todd Reirden made several aggressive changes to the forward lines. A re-tooled fourth line paid immediate dividends in the first period against the Oilers.
Capitals center Travis Boyd, playing in his first game of the season after getting injured during training camp, skated with Jakub Vrana and Devante Smith-Pelly. Boyd had two assists in three minutes as the Caps took a 2-1 lead into intermission.
The Capitals first goal came off the hands of Jakub Vrana. After the Capitals gained the zone, Vrana did a bump pass to Travis Boyd, who took the puck hard to the net. Devante Smith-Pelly gathered the rebound and sent a pass to Jakub Vrana who rifled a one timer past Cam Talbot.
Three minutes later, Smith-Pelly scored after Boyd, again, going strong to the net, sent a back pass to the sturdy forward.
“I think all three of us get along really well together off the ice and that kind of translates on the ice really quickly,” Boyd said at intermission to Al Koken. “We were pretty opportunistic as well. We buried our chances. That’s what you’ve got to do. So it was a great first period. We’ve got to keep it going.”
Boyd also has a long history with Jakub Vrana in the Caps’ minor-league system.
“We played together for the better part of two years,” Boyd said. “Before V came up here, we were together pretty much together the whole time. I think you can see it. I think we work pretty well together. We have great chemistry. It’s a lot of fun being out there with him.”
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