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Tarik's three stars: Braden Holtby shines in an otherwise ugly game


Tarik's three stars: Braden Holtby shines in an otherwise ugly game

It wasn’t pretty—at all—but the Capitals earned two points Sunday night at Capital One Arena, where the home team skated away with a 2-1 victory thanks to T.J. Oshie’s shootout goal, the lone tally in the skills competition.

The Caps have now won two in a row and five of their last six contests as they head onto the road for a two-game trip that’ll make stops in Nashville and Colorado.

RELATED: Niskanen timefame becoming more clear

Tarik’s three stars of the night

1-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Holtby’s work came infrequently against the Oilers—which can be a nightmare for a goalie. Busy. Nothing. Busy. Nothing. But in those moments when Holtby (29 saves) was busy, he was also really good. Late in the second period, Holtby made four consecutive right pad stops on Patrick Maroon, just moments after turning back Connor McDavid on a wraparound attempt. Maroon smashed his stick in frustration. Holtby, meanwhile, got a well-deserved standing ovation.

2-Dmitry Orlov, Capitals

Orlov’s first goal of the season—5:14 into the third period—knotted the score 1-1. The D-man fed the puck to Tom Wilson, who made a no-look return pass to Orlov in the slot. Orlov wasted little time sniping the puck over seldom-used Oilers backup Laurent Brossoit. Madison Bowey earned the secondary assist on the play, giving the Caps’ blue line 19 points in the last nine games.


3-John Carlson, Capitals

The Washington defenseman logged his third highest ice-time total of the season (29:17) and was a key factor in helping the Caps keep McDavid (three shots, no points) off the board. Brooks Orpik and Evgeny Kuznetsov's line also spent a ton of time matched up against the reigning NHL MVP. Carlson, though, saw the most. Overall, Carlson has led the Caps in time on ice 15 times in 17 games this season. He came into the contest leading the league in TOI per game at 27:13. 

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Game 32: Capitals vs. Avalanche Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 32: Capitals vs. Avalanche Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Colorado Avalanche

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

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Avalanche 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!).


The Capitals (18-12-1) take on the Avalanche (14-13-2) Tuesday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Avalanche game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Capitals GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington following the game for Caps Extra, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11 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. Avalanche
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


The Capitals-Avalanche 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).


Here are the Caps' projected lines:

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

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

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup.

Scratches: T.J. Oshie (upper-body injury), Taylor Chorney


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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4 reasons the Caps lost to the Islanders


4 reasons the Caps lost to the Islanders

A red-hot Capitals team traveled to Brooklyn where they were handed a 3-1 loss by the New York Islanders. Washington gave up an early goal in the first period and two early goals in the second that ultimately put the game out of reach.

Here is how it happened.

The first 94 seconds of the second period

The Caps trailed 1-0 at the end of the first and seemed fortunate to be down by only one. That luck ran out very quickly in the second period. Andrew Ladd scored just 36 seconds into the period and John Tavares added another just 58 seconds later. A 1-0 deficit turned into a 3-0 deficit in just 94 seconds.

Defensive breakdowns

Braden Holtby was pulled in the second period after giving up three goals, but if is hard to put this loss on Holtby's shoulders. He did not get much help at all from the defense as the Caps were frequently caught out of position by the Islanders. Watch how little movement there is from the players in white on this play.

Josh Bailey found himself in the middle of four Caps players, none challenged him and, even worse, no one covered John Tavares. It was an easy pass for Bailey and an easy goal for Tavares.

No sustained offensive pressure

The Islanders entered the game ranked 29th in goals against per game, yet the Caps could not take advantage. Washington fired 32 shots on goal, but could not create much sustained offensive pressure. There were not many cycles, not many won puck battles in the corners, not many second-chance opportunities, not many opportunities at all. Even the Caps' lone goal came from an end-to-end drive that Dmitry Orlov fired into the net.

Jaroslav Halak

While the Caps did not have many high-quality opportunities, the few they did have Jaroslav Halak was able to turn aside and he made it look easy. Halak has not had a great season, but you would not have known it given the way he played on Monday. He looked very comfortable in net, even when the Caps did manage to pressure him and recorded 31 saves on the night.