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3 reasons the Caps lost to the Kings

3 reasons the Caps lost to the Kings

Two games in, the Capitals are still looking for their first point on their California road trip after a 3-1 loss in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Here's why Washington lost.

A failed clear by T.J. Oshie

Late in the first period, Oshie went to the corner to retrieve a puck kicked away by Philipp Grubauer. He reached the puck with no one close to him. Evgeny Kuznetsov stood on the wall directly in front of him, poised to break the puck out if Oshie passed to him. He did not. Oshie held onto the puck for a full two seconds before he was finally pressured by Tyler Toffoli. He then attempted a cross-ice pass to Jakub Vrana who was in the neutral zone. The pass was blocked and never made it out of the defensive zone. Jeff Carter would score a few seconds later to give the Kings the 1-0 lead. The Caps could have cleared the zone on a simple play. Oshie elected to try something more difficult and it resulted in a goal for Los Angeles.


Three shots for Trevor Lewis

Trevor Lewis was credited with four shots on goal. Three of those shots came on the same play as he rattled off three in quick succession on Philipp Grubauer, finally besting the Caps netminder on the third to score what would be the game-winning goal. Carter whipped a backhanded pass through the neutral zone to the tape of Lewis who drove into the Caps’ zone. He fired an innocent looking shot from the top of the faceoff circle, skated past Brooks Orpik and fired the rebound shot then finally tapped in the puck out of the air for the goal.

Not enough shots

This has been a theme for the Caps this season who rank dead last in the NHL in shots on goal per game. The team has been far more selective with their shots, looking for more high danger shots. That has worked for them to a point as they rank 12th in goals per game despite ranking 31st in shots. But when a team is trailing and manages only two shots on goal on three power play opportunities, that’s not enough. When a team is trailing and manages only five shots on goal in the third period, that’s not enough. Jonathan Quick played well in net for the Kings, but he wasn’t tested enough. There has to be a balance between being selective and getting enough pressure on net. They did not find that balance in Los Angeles.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


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Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Alex Ovechkin further cemented his place in NHL history, John Carlson stayed hot and Braden Holtby was good when called upon as the Caps downed the Stars, 4-3, at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.

The victory was Washington’s fifth in the past six games. It also marked the Caps’ first win over Dallas in D.C. since 2006.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season and the 602nd of his career in the second period to give the Caps a short-lived 3-2 edge in the second period.

The goal put Ovi back atop the league as he seeks a seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. It also pushed him past Jari Karri and into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin has now victimized Kari Lehtonen 22 times, which is tied for the most goals he’s scored against a single netminder. (Henrik Lundqvist has also given up 22 goals to No. 8). Ovi also had a couple of secondary helpers.

2-John Carlson, Capitals

Carlson scored the game-winner 4:59 with left to play, blasting a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Caps ahead 4-3.

Carlson also notched an assist, which allowed him to stay even with Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg had two assists. Both players ended the game with 61 points—tied for the most among all NHL defensemen.    

3-Alexander Radulov, Stars

From his first shift, it was apparent that Radulov was determined to leave his mark on the game. And he did just that, recording a goal, an assist and boarding minor that bloodied Caps defenseman Michal Kempny. Radulov’s goal—a redirection of a John Klingberg shot—was his 26th and it evened the score, 2-2, in the second period.

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