It all happened in quick succession — Jonas Siegenthaler sliding a puck over to Alex Ovechkin in the left faceoff circle, that puck then rocketing past Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling. Ovechkin dropped to one knee and began pumping a fist in celebration. He wrapped an arm around Siegenthaler and, in his glee, Ovechkin remembered there was one more thing he needed to do. He skated over to the official and held out his glove for the puck, a keepsake for his young teammate.
In the PNC Arena visiting locker room after the game, Siegenthaler held up that puck as a photographer snapped a photo to commemorate the 21-year-old’s first NHL point. This year has already been a whirlwind for him, from nearly cracking the Capitals’ roster out of training camp to making his NHL debut a month later to that commemorative Cheap Washington Capitals Jerseys puck on Friday night, which seems to symbolize another new chapter. Siegenthaler had been an extra defenseman for the past five weeks, but with Christian Djoos out indefinitely after getting surgery on his left thigh on Thursday night, Siegenthaler has the opportunity to establish himself as a lineup regular sooner than expected.
Veteran blue-liner Brooks Orpik has missed the past 22 games after getting arthroscopic surgery on his right knee nearly a month ago, and while he’s started skating again and is expected to be back in the lineup by Christmas, Siegenthaler will be on the left side of Washington’s third pairing in the meantime. The Capitals aren’t ready to declare Djoos’s injury to be season-ending, but he will be out “a substantial number of weeks,” Coach Todd Reirden said. As the organization considers if it should acquire another defenseman by the trade deadline, how well Siegenthaler has acquitted himself in his first seven games has reassured the Capitals that he’s absolutely in their plans, and he could be in their current ones, too.