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4 reasons why the Capitals beat the Sharks

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USA TODAY Sports

4 reasons why the Capitals beat the Sharks

The San Jose Sharks have had the number of the Washington Capitals over the years, but that was not the case on Monday. The Caps were finally able to beat San Jose and they did so in convincing fashion with a 4-1 win.

Here’s why they won

Alex Ovechkin does it all

With the Caps leading by one in the second period, Ovechkin was able to pounce on a flubbed shot by Brent Burns and was off to the races. Ovechkin took the breakaway from the defensive zone, avoided the sweep check from Brenden Dillon and backhanded a shot past Martin Jones for the highlight reel goal. The second period was a sloppy one for Washington and the Sharks were retaking the momentum. Ovechkin’s goal was critical in re-establishing control of the game.

Brett Connolly restored the Caps’ two-goal lead. Or did he? Yes he did. Did he really? Yes. He did.

A bizarre sequence unfolded late in the second period. After Brenden Dillon was called for high-sticking and T.J. Oshie left the game after a hit from Joe Thornton, Connolly found himself playing with the top power play unit. He took advantage with a top-shelf goal to beat Jones. Or did he? The Caps thought he scored, but the puck was in and out so fast the referees let the play continue. After the next stoppage, the play was reviewed and Connolly was correctly awarded the goal. Or was he? At that moment, the Sharks decided to challenge the goal as offside. After another review, the goal was still upheld and Connolly was mercifully awarded the goal. The Sharks were also given a delay of game penalty for the challenge.

Philipp Grubauer’s third period

Through 40 minutes Grubauer looked good, but not great. That changed at the start of the third when Grubauer made a number of fantastic saves to ensure the Sharks could not make a game of it. His best save sequence came with 15:25 remaining in the third. Jannik Hansen hit Marcus Sorensen on the cross-ice pass to the right, but Grubauer was there with the pad to deny him. The Sharks were able to control the rebound and Sorensen fed it back to a wide-open Hansen on the left who was again denied by a sprawling Grubauer. Hansen and Sorensen kept digging for the puck but were ultimately unable to solve the German netminder. Grubauer faced nine shots in the third, the most he faced in any period on Monday, and he turned aside all nine.

The Sharks devolving in the third

At the start of the third, Tom Wilson called Thornton to account for his hit on Oshie. The two fought, then went to their respective penalty boxes. Issue over, right? Not for the Sharks. Whether they were upset by Wilson fighting Thornton, they were frustrated by the direction the game was going or they were just plain crazy, San Jose went nuts for most of the period. In all, the Sharks were assessed 37 penalty minutes (six minors, three majors and one 10-minute misconduct) in the final frame compared to Washington’s 18. It’s hard to mount a comeback when you are constant shorthanded.

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Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Lightning game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals (34-18-7) take on the Lightning (39-17-3) Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME ON?

The Capitals-Lightning game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Lightning game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals-Lightning game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-LIGHTNING OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE