Jakub Vrana is only in his second full season in the NHL, but he’s becoming a fan favorite and a dominant player.
The Czech forward scored Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers, tallying his 22nd goal on the season. It’s nine more than his previous career high of 13 set last season.
Vrana scored in the third period after Brett Connolly won a board battle and sprung Jakub sprinting ahead in the neutral zone. The goal gave the Caps a 3-1 lead they’d never relinquish.
Connolly dished a perfect lead pass, hitting Vrana in stride. Vrana stayed onside and then slipped a shot through Brian Elliott’s five hole.
An intense V screamed and punched the glass in celebration.
“I couldn’t tell if he was happy or mad after that goal,” Tom Wilson joked.
“It was a great wall play by Brett there on the wall side there,” Vrana said. “I just tried to get open.”
According to Pierre McGuire, Vrana shouted “I’m there, I’m there” to get Connolly’s attention on the ice. A great heads up play.
A few shifts later, Vrana got a second breakaway. He faked the Flyers goaltender out with his move, but was unable to convert, nailing the post on his backhand.
“I miss. Miss by a little, you know?” Vrana said before sounding frustrated. “Just the little things… It’s okay.”
The Capitals struggled in the first and second period and really took it to the Flyers in the third. A reporter asked Vrana if it was because the Capitals tried to open the game up more with the Flyers playing their second game in as many days.
“I don’t know man. I think we just focused on ourselves there,” he said. “We don’t worry about the big play or not. We just want to focus on our game style and what do we need to get better on. Obviously, it was a strong third period which we needed.”
Vrana is now tied with Tom Wilson, who also scored against the Flyers Sunday, and TJ Oshie for second on the team with 22 goals.
“He’s great. He’s evolved a lot with maturity, as a player, as a teammate,” Wilson said. “He’s growing up a lot this year. He’s played really really good hockey for us and been one of the best guys on the ice many nights. It’s fun to watch him skate. I think some of their guys were tired and it seems like he was just like floating away from them a couple of times in the third there. He’s a special skater and has a good finish too.”
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