By Chuck GormleyCapitals InsiderCSNwashington.com Jeff Halpern, Andrew Carroll and Roman Hamrlik each scored their first goals of the preseason, but an overtime power-play goal by Alexandre Giroux gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win Wednesday night at Nationwide Arena.
With the loss, the Capitals fall to 0-1-1 in the preseason and will look for their first victory Friday night in Chicago against the Blackhawks.
Unlike Tuesday nights preseason opener in Baltimore, when the Capitals dressed their top two forward lines, only a half dozen forwards that faced the Blue Jackets Wednesday night saw extensive time in the NHL last season.
One of the brightest spots for the Capitals was forward Joel Ward, who signed a four-year contract over the summer. The sturdy left wing parked himself in front of the net on the power play, helped kill off a two-man advantage in the third period and played an overall strong game in his Capitals debut.
Goaltender Braden Holtby allowed two goals on 14 shots through two periods and was relieved by rookie Phillipp Grubauer, who surrendered two goals on 10 shots. Grubauer actually made the save of the night when he stoned Blue Jackets star forward Rick Nash on a breakaway in the third period.
Hamrlik saw plenty of work in his Capitals debut, logging a team-high 27:43, including a team-high 5:44 on the power play. Dennis Wideman was next with 27:32 of ice time, 5:31 on the man-advantage.
Left wing Chris Bourque, one of two Capitals who was playing on back-to-back nights, finished a minus-2 but was tied with Wideman for the team lead in shots with four.
The Caps are expected to practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Thursday at 11:30.