Grading Martin Erat’s Debut, Capitals Performance Against the Isles

Martin Erat’s debut for the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Thursday evening was just fine. Though he did not tally a point on the stat sheet, his presence was felt. He nearly had an assist on a cross-crease feed to Alexander Ovechkin, who fanned on the perfectly placed pass. He led a ferocious shift on the power play in the second period, which nearly led to a Mathieu Perrault goal.

Erat played 14:43 on the ice throughout 17 shifts while recording three hits and one takeaway.

Martin Erat Capitals
Martin Erat (Icon SMI)

Grade for Martin Erat: B

Braden Holtby was tough for the Islanders to solve. The Canadian net-minder turned aside 35 shots to go along with three key shootout saves, en route to a 2-1 victory for the surging Capitals. The win put the Capitals in a tie with the Winnipeg Jets for the Southeast Division, who has played two more games then them.

Mike Green stayed scorching hot, extending his goal-scoring streak to four games. He has tallied five goals, four coming at even strength, in that span.

Ovechkin’s point streak of nine games came to an end, but he tallied in the shootout, which would prove to be the game winner. Too bad that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.

Overall, the team looked sloppy at times, but there were plenty of positives to take from the game. Marcus Johansson was skating better than ever. He found a seam in which he could weave through defenders with little difficulty. Evgeni Nabakov robbed the Capitals of another three goals to keep his team in the game.

Washington was able to generate scoring chances, but not able to get the puck past the oldest player on the ice. In the end, Ovechkin found a way to solve him in the shootout, with a nasty backhander just below the crossbar.

What may not be good news for Capitals fans is Brooks Laich’s early exit from the game. This comes from Katie Carrera of The Washington Post on Twitter:

Let’s hope he is good to go for the upcoming back-to-back games.

This is the first team all season that the Capitals have been at the top of the division standings, a place that had been so familiar for Ovechkin and company for the past few years.

Ovechkin on being in first place via Carrera:

Indeed they need to stay there. Washington is now 6-1-1 in their last seven games. The Capitals will look to keep the momentum going against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, whom they have outscored 18-6 in three wins against their fellow divisional rivals.