Highlights: Capitals 6, Flyers 3
The Capitals and Flyers don’t play again until Nov. 1.
But after seeing what Zac Rinaldo’s right arm did to Mikhail Grabovski’s face Friday night, it could be an interesting night in Philadelphia.
Rinaldo threw his arm into the face of Grabovski midway through the first period, drawing a five-minute elbowing major and a game misconduct.
Rinaldo declined to comment on his way out of Verizon Center, but there were plenty of angry words coming from the Capitals’ dressing room following their 6-3 preseason victory over their new Metropolitan Division rivals.
“I don’t think that’s very respectful to target a guy’s head like that,” said Capitals rookie Tom Wilson, who scored his third goal and got into his second fight of the preseason. “I mean, Grabo’s nose was bloody. It was a shoulder right to the head.”
Eric Fehr was just as critical, saying the NHL should review the play.
“I don’t there’s really a place for that hit, especially at that point in the game,” said Fehr, who scored his team-high fourth and fifth goals of the season. “He’s done that continually and hopefully the league takes a look at it.”
Capitals coach Adam Oates said he was happy to see Grabovski return to action on the ensuing power play and finish the game with his sixth assist in three preseason games.
But Oates was also upset by the hit, which left Grabovski with a bloody nose and scratches above his lip.
“I would imagine the league will look at it,” Oates said. “There’s a line, there’s always a line. That’s a guy that plays that way. He usually plays on the edge.”
Grabovski had a slight smile on his face when asked about the hit from Rinaldo.
“Chara? No, not Chara,” Grabovski said, referring to Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who rang his bell with these two hits two seasons ago. “Not a smart play. It wasn’t the first time. I remember what he do. It was a pretty hard hit but I’m OK right now and ready to play next game.”
The game featured five fights and nine goals, two each by Fehr and Alex Ovechkin.
All four of Ovechkin’s goals this season have come on the power play. All five of Fehr’s goals have come at even strength.
“That really helps,” Oates said of Fehr’s production. “It takes some pressure off the power play and gives us more scoring depth.”
After the game, Ovechkin quickly left the building and headed for DullesInternationalAirport, where he began a nine-hour journey that will get him to Olympia, Greece at about 5 p.m. on Saturday, Greece time. Ovechkin will participate in the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony on Sunday then return to Washington Sunday night, with his flight scheduled to arrive at 9:17 p.m.
“He’s so jacked up about that,” Oates said. “What an honor. What you can say? It’s a huge, huge, honor. We just said, ‘Congrats. It’s fantastic. Enjoy it. Get as much out of it as you can and get home healthy.’”