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As injuries mount, Caps forced to make another call-up


As injuries mount, Caps forced to make another call-up

With injuries mounting, the Capitals recalled Anthony Peluso from the minor league Hershey Bears on Friday afternoon.

Peluso, a tough, 6 foot 3, 225-pound right wing, will join the Caps ahead of their back-to-back games in Edmonton and Calgary on Saturday and Sunday.

The move was necessary because winger Brett Connolly figures to be sidelined this weekend after leaving Thursday’s 6-2 loss in Vancouver in the second period. Connolly absorbed a hard hit from Erik Gudbranson and was placed in the concussion protocol.

Why did Peluso get the call over some of the organization’s prospects? Edmonton has some rugged players up front, like Zack Kassian, Milan Lucic and Patrick Maroon, and Peluso’s presence will add some physicality while also taking some pressure off of Tom Wilson, who scrapped with Gudbranson.

Peluso, 28, appeared in 142 games for the Jets from 2012-13 to 2015-16, scoring four goals and amassing 209 penalty minutes. He signed with Washington this summer and was one of the last players cut in training camp.

To make room for Peluso on the 23-man roster, forward Tyler Graovac (upper body, week-to-week) was placed on injured reserve.

After enjoying a couple of mostly healthy seasons, the Caps now find themselves dealing with some significant injuries.

No. 1 defenseman Matt Niskanen is on long term injured reserve with an upper body injury and winger Andre Burakovsky is out until mid-December because of a broken thumb that required surgery. Add to that Graovac and Connolly, and that’s four players who were in the opening night lineup who won't be available as the Caps attempt to snap a two-game slide against Connor McDavid and Co.

On top of the injuries, Nicklas Backstrom is still a bit of a question mark after missing the Vancouver game with an illness. He’s listed as day-to-day.

If Backstrom is able to suit up, however, the Caps will have 13 healthy forwards, meaning someone will sit.

The Caps did not practice on Friday upon arrivinng in Edmonton.

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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.