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3 reasons the Caps beat the Hurricanes

3 reasons the Caps beat the Hurricanes

It looked like the Caps were about to give away Tuesday's game, but instead the Caps rallied behind Alex Ovechkin's two goals for the 5-4 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Here is how the Caps won.

Alex Ovechkin torturing Jaccob Slavin

With the Caps trailing by one, Ovechkin skated after the puck in the offensive zone as Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin went to retrieve it. Slavin had some time to work with, but must have felt the pressure from Ovechkin because he whirled around and threw the puck up the middle right to Nicklas Backstrom. Ovechkin had the presence of mind to cut to the net after Slavin fired the puck away. Backstrom immediately passed the puck to Ovechkin who tied the game with a backhander to beat Cam Ward. In overtime, a dead-tired Ovechkin got the puck in the defensive zone at the end of his shift. Rather than passing it off, however, he went decided to take the puck up the ice and found himself defended by Slavin. Ovechkin faked the shot which drew Slavin off balance and gave Ovechkin just enough room to cut outside and fire a wrister for the game-winning goal. It's a game Slavin will want to soon forget.

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Bad goals have a way of deflating a team. When John Carlson coughed up an ugly turnover in the first period that Victor Rask turned into a 1-0 Carolina lead, it would have been easy for the Caps to collapse. It would have been even easier for Washington to collapse in the third period when Madison Bowey gave up another ugly turnover that led to the go-ahead goal for Carolina. How did Washington respond? Alex Chiasson scored 1:18 after Rask's first period goal to tie it at one and Ovechkin scored 5:41 after Teuvo Teravainen put Carolina up 4-3 in the third.

John Carlson

Yes, Carlson's first period turnover was atrocious. There's no way around it. But Barry Trotz leaned heavily on Carlson as the rest of the defensemen also seemed to struggle controlling the puck. Carlson logged a whopping 30:51 of ice time in this game, easily the highest total on the team. Brooks Orpik logged the second most minutes with 22:28. That's 7:23 more ice time for Carlson. With Matt Niskanen out, it is no surprise to see Trotz look to Carlson again to carry a bigger load.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.