Capitals’ offseason additions impress in preseason debuts vs. Flyers

Caps’ new additions impress in preseason debuts vs. Flyers originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals pulled out to a 3-1 preseason win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night behind the contributions of three players making their debuts with the team.

Goaltender Charlie Lindgren signed with the Capitals in July to be their primary backup behind fellow offseason addition Darcy Kuemper. The 28-year-old traveled with the team to Philadelphia for their second exhibition game of the preseason and blanked the Flyers for two periods before ceding the crease to Zach Fucale for the final 20 minutes.

Lindgren, who has just 24 career NHL starts across six seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and St. Louis Blues, stopped all 13 shots on goal he faced including four high-danger chances. The Flyers struggled to put the puck on net all night and generated just one power-play opportunity, but Lindgren was sturdy when called upon.

The Capitals’ offense was provided by center Dylan Strome and winger Connor Brown, two players Washington hopes can help weather the extended absences of Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson to begin the season. Both showed the kind of contributions they can make in the attacking zone with a pair of goals scored just minutes apart in the second period.

Brown struck first, scooping up a loose puck that defenseman Bobby Nardella popped out of traffic and firing it over the outstretched arm of Flyers goalie Felix Sandstrom from the high slot.

Three minutes later, the Capitals were on the power play when Nardella got involved once again by setting up from the point and sliding Strome a quick pass that gave him the space to fire a one-timer past Sandstrom’s glove.

Both forwards remained on the ice through the end of the game and they paired up for another score on a breakaway in the closing minutes. Strome grabbed the puck off a turnover and passed it once to Brown, who flipped it right back to get goalie Samuel Ersson out of position and set up Strome for the easy score.

Strome and Brown each played in the Capitals’ top power-play unit Wednesday, but Strome has a chance to stick there even after the team’s stars start suiting up. Coming off a career year with the Chicago Blackhawks, Strome has been taking reps in training camp on the half wall.

“He’s a big guy, left-hand shot, good around the net and has a good shot, can make plays, a big body,” head coach Peter Laviolette said at training camp Tuesday, the first day the Capitals ran full power-play drills. “It was Day 1. We were looking at him in that position, but again things can change, too.”

With his goal Wednesday, Strome’s case to stick in that spot grew stronger. Brown, who is in consideration for the open winger position alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, made good on his opportunity for a first impression as well.

The Capitals moved to 1-0-1 on the preseason with the victory. They'll return to D.C. for another training camp practice Thursday before playing back-to-back road games against the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday and Saturday, respectively.