Led by Charlie Lindgren, Capitals shutout Golden Knights

A little more than 24 hours after visiting the White House, the Vegas Golden Knights looked to build on their strong start to the young NHL season at the expense of the Washington Capitals.

Goalie Charlie Lindgren had other ideas though, stopping all 35 shots he faced in a 3-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions, which marked Washington’s first shutout of the season and the veteran netminder’s first shutout with the franchise. After a slow start to the campaign (with just one win in their first five contests), the Capitals have now won three consecutive games and six of their last eight.

For much of last season, Washington looked old and slow out on the ice — plodding up and down the ice during open play and taking too long to get set up on the powerplay. This season has seen a much-needed infusion of youth and speed to go along with first-year coach Spencer Carbery, and the results have been promising. During the preseason, the line of Dylan Strome, Sonny Milano and Matthew Phillips stood out for their efforts and against Vegas, they once again delivered — as Strome scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season in the late stages of the first period.

Early in the second period, center Evgeny Kuznetsov dropped to the ice in obvious pain after an illegal hit to the head by Golden Knights center Paul Cotter, who was ejected from the game. Washington received a five-minute powerplay, but the league’s worst powerplay unit failed to capitalize on the lengthy advantage. Typically, killing off a five-minute penalty provides a huge boost and the Golden Knights upped their efforts once they returned to even strength, but Lindgren continually found ways to thwart Vegas’ high-powered attack.

Connor McMichael and Beck Malenstyn added goals in the final minute of regulation to ensure the Caps closed out their most impressive victory of the season. While the top-line talent remained quiet, goals from the second, third and fourth lines showed nice balance across the roster and provided a reason for optimism moving forward. If/when the biggest names on the roster begin to produce, this season could become a lot more interesting.

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