The Caps held their first preseason game in Baltimore since 1992 and even though they lost 2-0 to the Nashville Predators, by all accounts it was a success. The ice wasn’t perfect, as Alex Ovechkin said on the ice, “it was like Winter Classic game”, and it was a tad warm, everyone was sweating, but the fans were on their feet and rocked the red all game. The stands were mostly packed, the Caps announced it was a sellout with 11,082 attending, and they even had a party going on the stage in one of the end zones.
The Caps sold tickets at regular season prices and in return sent most of their stars after only three days of practice. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson, Karl Alzner and Michal Neuvirth all made the trip. The Caps even sent some of their top prospects in Cody Eakin and Stanislav Galiev who along with Chris Bourque were probably the Caps best line all night.
The game was pretty rough, but expected for being the first preseason game and it didn’t help with how bad the ice was plus they only had three practices before hand. Michal Neuvirth played the entire game in goal for the Capitals and stopped 27 of 29 shots, both goals were caused by Caps turnovers in the defensive zone . Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau commended Neuveirth and said he played very steady tonight. Alex Ovechkin was paired with Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble on the first line and had a big hit on former Capital Tyler Sloan, but everyone was just a tick off most of the night.
Nicklas Backstrom said, “overall we can be way better than this” on their game tonight. All the Capitals wouldn’t use the ice as an excuse tonight and Marcus Johansson said, “same thing for both teams, we still got to play a better game no matter how bad the ice is.”
The Capitals now head to Columbus to play the Blue Jackets tomorrow night and likely will send most of the guys on the trip who didn’t travel to Baltimore. Bruce Boudreau did say though that the Capitals main guys will probably play in more preseason games then they’re used to this year so they are ready for the season and also to play more with all their new additions.
Listen to or watch what Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom & Marcus Johansson had to say after the Baltimore Hockey Classic.
Bruce Boudreau Postgame Press Conference
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Nicklas Backstrom Postgame Audio
Marcus Johansson Postgame Audio
Bruce Boudreau Press Conference
Post-Game Interviews (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson)
Here are a few of the pics from 1st Mariner Arena and the 2011 Baltimore Hockey Classic.