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Tarik's 3 stars: Wilson, Caps tame the Wild, 5-2

Tarik's 3 stars: Wilson, Caps tame the Wild, 5-2

Tom Wilson, Alex Ovechkin, Andre Burakovsky and Nicklas Backstrom scored, and backup goalie Philipp Grubauer turned in a strong performance as the Caps beat the Wild, 5-2, at Xcel Energy Center.

The win snapped Washington’s two-game losing streak and it marked the Caps' seventh straight win over the Wild. It also put an end to Minnesota’s league-best 13-game point streak on home ice.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Tom Wilson, Capitals

The first of Wilson’s two goals on the night was No. 8 this season for the big winger, establishing a new career best after he got stuck on seven the previous two seasons.

The goal gave Wilson 24 points on the season, also a career high. Wilson’s empty netter late in the third period provided the winning margin and gave him his second two-goal game of the season.  

2-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovechkin finished with a goal and three assists, giving him his third four-point game of the season. The goal was Ovi’s 34th, pushing him past last season’s disappointing total.

3-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

Grubauer made 32 stops to improve to 5-7-3 on the season. His biggest stops actually came right off the bat, as he stopped Matt Dumba and Zach Parise, on a rebound from point-blank range, less than two minutes into the game to allow Washington to settle in.

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

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Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

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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.