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3 stars of the game: Wilson not enough of a spark as Caps fall to Kings

3 stars of the game: Wilson not enough of a spark as Caps fall to Kings

The Capitals started off the California road trip with an ugly 4-0 loss in Anaheim. Washington put up more of a fight on Thursday in Los Angeles, but the result was the same in the end as the Caps fell 3-1 to the Kings.

Philipp Grubauer got the start in net and turned aside 26 of the 28 shots he faced, but he was bested by his counterpart, Jonathan Quick, who allowed only one goal to the Caps. Jakub Vrana provided the only offense for Washington on the night as he knocked in a puck out of midair to tie the game at 1 in the second period. Trevor Lewis, however, responded with a similar midair tally to restore Los Angeles' lead for good.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jeff Carter: A lower-body injury forced Carter to miss 55 games this season. In that time, the Kings went from one of the top teams in the league to the playoff bubble. The effect he has on this team was evident on Thursday as he recorded a goal and an assist to lead Los Angeles. He corralled a wayward pass on a failed clear by T.J. Oshie sparking an offensive cycle that resulted in the game's first goal which he scored as he tapped a puck in the net after it squeaked through Grubauer.

In the second period, he pounced on a turnover in the neutral zone and fired a backhand pass right to the tape of Trevor Lewis who would drive the net for the goal.

2. Tom Wilson: Wilson is just the latest example of why professional athletes are different than normal people. In what was a scary moment, Wilson took a puck right to the forehead in the second period as a Jake Muzzin slapshot deflected up off of Nicklas Backstrom's stick. Wilson went down, then popped back to his feet, hand to his head and very quickly made his way to the locker room.

While most of us would have called out of work for the rest of the month, Wilson, however, was back for the start of the third period. And if you think a puck to the head would keep Wilson from playing a physical game, you are wrong. Wilson laid a clean shoulder check on Nate Thompson that cleaned him out. Kyle Clifford took exception and even dropped the gloves with Wilson, ignoring the giant gash in his head. The two grappled with Wilson trying to point to his head to show he couldn't fight despite Clifford's baffling insistence.

Thankfully, the referees stopped it and rightly gave Clifford an extra two minutes on the play. Wilson had a game-high seven hits, but he was also Washington's best player on the ice.

3. Trevor Lewis: The difference in this game was ultimately a strong individual play by Lewis to score the game-winning goal. A pass from Carter launched the rush by Lewis who was able to get three shots away on the drive to eventually get the goal. Grubauer stopped the first two, but Lewis was able to whack a midair puck into the net to give the Kings back the lead.

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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.