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Capitals vs. Islanders: Winnik for the Win, Caps Win 2-1

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The Capitals' 2016-2017 home season got underway on Saturday night, and the scoring for the home team came from an unexpected source.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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It was not flashy, but a win is a win, the second straight year the Caps opened the home portion of the season with a win. Sharp goaltending and timely scoring from an unexpected source were key.

Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Daniel Winnik. Getting secondary scoring is important, especially when the top line -- top two lines, actually -- are struggling. Winnik did just that.
  • Minus: The power play. It’s early, and timing at game speed is an issue, but there is only so much lipstick you can put on that oinker (0-for-5 overall)

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Winnik, Daniel…would not have been most Caps fans’ pick to get the season’s first home goal. It was his tip-in of a John Carlson drive that got the Caps’ home portion of the season off and running. And then, for good measure, he added another on a nifty deke in the second period.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov had a chance to get the Caps a lead heading into the first intermission, but the puck had other ideas, clicking off the post and out.
  • Long reach came in handy for Zach Sanford and the Caps mid-way through the third, when off a turnover, Sanford got between two Islanders and foiled what could have been a tip-in off a cross-ice pass by getting his stick on the pass to redirect it into the corner.
  • Creating things came rarely for the top two lines tonight. The guys who are the creative ones – Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov – were locked up pretty well by the Isles.
  • Unusual might be the word to describe the fact that the Caps have had two players with two-goals in two games to start the season (Andre Burakovsky and Daniel Winnik).
  • Maybe it’s early, but the power play looked badly out of sync. Feeds for one-timers to Alex Ovechkin ended up clicking off his boot, shots were going wide, and the units looked flummoxed.
  • Braden Holtby looked like he was in mid-season form. He was so good as to avoid making the spectacular stop, anticipating plays and using position and angles as if he was just picking up from his early season level of performance last season.
  • Alex Ovechkin did have ten shot attempts. He did have three shots on goal, but he really didn’t have a shot where you were half way out of your seat thinking it was going in.
  • Coming off surgery in the off-season, Karl Alzner looks very healthy in the early going. His game is position and angles, and it was on full display when he broke up what could have been a 3-on-1 for the Islanders early in the second period.
  • Keep the wins coming, boys. Colorado is next.

That the Caps are 1-0-1 without a point from the top line yet is a reflection of the depth of this team, and good goaltending. But that is a group that is going to have to wake from their slumber pretty soon.

And now, this...

Game highlights: