Washington – Anthony Mantha He smiled at the suggestion that he might be off to a good start to his season due to his father’s newfound strength.
Mantha and fiancée Caitlin Duffy welcomed their first child, daughter Naomi Mae Mantha, on October 4. Since then, the forward has scored two goals in his first three games at the Washington Capitals, including the winner in their 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. on Saturday.
“I think it’s a new force,” Mantha said. “ten days”.
Mantha’s goal on Saturday was pivotal, breaking the 1-1 tie at 11:43 in the second half to help the Capitals (1-2-0) claim their first win of the season after losing their first two games. Mantha leaned in the right circle to receive a pass from her Evgeny Kuznetsov from the right corner and fired a shot that went into the right arm of the Canadian goalkeeper Sam Montembolt.
It was the second of three unanswered goals Washington scored after falling behind.
“My goal was to have a good year, and of course not [struggling] “Two games and kind of trying to find your game,” Mantha said. It was a slow start [Saturday] The first period and I had to get up in the second and third and I think I helped the team win.”
Washington, which will even look at its record when the Vancouver Canucks hosts the Capital One Arena on Monday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, SNP, NBCSWA, ESPN+, SN NOW), could use more of that from Mantha throughout the season. with Tom Wilson (Rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee) is expected to come out at least until December and Niklas Backstrom (left hip resurfacing surgery) Indefinitely, the capitals need other attackers to pick up the slack, and Mantha is one of the prime candidates.
Named the 20th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Mantha has topped 20 goals in his seven seasons in the league, including the top 25 in the National Hockey League in 2018-19.
Capable of playing either wing, Mantha is most effective when using his 6-foot-5, 234-pound skate frame to make room for himself and his buddies. In his goal on Saturday, he used his speed, body position and quick hands to avoid trying to check the stick from the Canadian striker Cole Caufield and walked away from his shot. His size and strength were also evident during a puck fight late in the game with a defensive man Kaiden Jahl Behind the Montreal grid that led to a fight.
“We want him to go and move around and put pucks into the net like he did by wiggling in the zones,” said Capitals coach Peter Laviollette. “He got more physical as the match went on and that was good.”
Mantha’s biggest problem was staying healthy. He played 80 regular season NHL games in 2017-18, when he scored his NHL high of 48 points (24 goals, 24 assists), but he has yet to play in a full 82 regular season games. He had 48 points (25 goals, 23 assists) in 67 games in 2018-2019 despite missing a month due to a hand injury. He dropped to 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in the 2019-20 season when he was limited to 43 games due to a right shoulder injury.
Although Mantha did not miss a game in 2020-21, which was shortened to 56 due to the coronavirus pandemic, that season broke with him on April 12, 2021, the trade that sent him from the Red Wings to the capitals. He scored 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) that season, of which eight (four goals, 4 assists) in 14 games with Washington.
Mantha had 23 points (nine goals and 14 assists) in 37 games last season when he missed nearly four months and 45 games while recovering from surgery on his left shoulder on November 5.
“I feel like I’m starting every year with good health, but that’s just bad luck, I guess,” said Mantha. “This year I hope to stay healthy, playing all 82 matches.”
This is the hope of the capitals as well. In an effort to spark the attack after being limited to two goals in each of the first games, Laviolette altered the fixtures for Washington’s streak on Saturday, including switching Mantha from the right wing to the left wing on a streak with Kuznetsov in the center and TJ O’Shea on the right wing.
This move had the desired effect as Kuznetsov earned his first point of the season, and a assist in Mantha’s goal, and Oshi also helped Mantha score and score a powerful goal.
“Mo, it’s such an existence on ice,” O’Shea said. “If he stays healthy I would expect him to be on the target list a little bit. He’s a big player for our team and really helps us get some size up front with Tommy out a bit out of the squad, and he helps us with skill with Nick a little bit off. He’s a big part of our squad, and when he’s healthy Good, it goes for us.”