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Tarik's 3 stars: Holtby pulled again as the Ducks steamroll the Caps


Tarik's 3 stars: Holtby pulled again as the Ducks steamroll the Caps

The Caps surrendered a power play goal less than 90 seconds into Tuesday’s game in Anaheim. But the 4-0 loss to the Ducks isn’t Washington’s biggest problem right now.

That would be slumping No. 1 goalie Braden Holtby, who gave up three goals on the first nine shots he faced before being pulled in favor of Philipp Grubauer.

Holtby has been yanked four times since Feb 2 and seven times in all. Each time Holtby has gotten the hook, by the way, it’s come on the road. Grubauer, meantime, has won his last four starts.

Is there a goalie controversy brewing? That’s unclear. Holtby's got a long, successful history with Trotz and a lot of equity in the bank. But it’s going to be very interesting to see how Coach Barry Trotz navigates a delicate situation.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Adam Henrique, Ducks

The third line center struck on the power play just 1:24 into the contest.

Henrique, who came over in a trade from the Devils on Nov. 30, has four goals and three assists in the last 10 games.

2-John Gibson, Ducks

Gibson made 18 saves to extend his career-best winning streak to six games.

With the win, the 24-year-old matched his career-high for victories with 25, which he set last year.

3-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

Grubauer wasn’t tested much, but he came up big a couple of times in the third period.

The German netminder stopped all eight shots he faced. In all, the Caps outshot the Ducks, 36-18.

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

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.

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3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center.