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Tarik's Three Stars: Ovechkin making moves as Caps clip Columbus, 4-3

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Tarik's Three Stars: Ovechkin making moves as Caps clip Columbus, 4-3

The Metro-leading Blue Jackets came into D.C. red hot, having won eight of their previous nine games. And their ace netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky, was back between the pipes after getting a couple of games off.

Didn’t matter.

As the Caps have shown on occasion this season, they’re capable of beating anyone on any given night. And they did it again, thanks to Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin, both of whom played a huge role in lifting the Caps to a 4-3 victory over Columbus at Capital One Arena.

Tarik’s three stars of the night:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

The Caps had blown a 2-0 lead and, judging from the way things were going after surrendering a shorty, they seemed to be in jeopardy of blowing the game, too. Then Ovechkin decided to do something about it. With Boone Jenner back in the box, the Caps’ captain set up in the circle and fired a laser beam of a shot past Bobrovsky to restore the Caps’ lead, 3-2, in the waning seconds of the middle frame.

The goal was Ovi’s 218th with the man advantage and it pushed him past Mike Gartner and Jaromir Jagr for 10th place on the all-time power play goal list. It also moved him into a tie with Mark Recchi for 20thplace (577) on the all-time goals list.

2-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Although the Caps opened a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Brett Connolly and Alex Chiasson, Holtby was the best player on the ice in the opening 20 minutes. And the home team needed him to be just that. He stopped all eight shots he faced in the first, including a sprawling stop on Josh Anderson early. Holtby also made a timely stop on a Nick Foligno breakaway early in the second period and a point blank save on Cam Atkinson as the Caps protected a 4-2 edge late.

3- John Carlson, Capitals

No. 74 entered the night tied for eighth among all defensemen with 18 points. Make that 20 points. Carlson was credited with primary assists on the Caps’ third and fourth goals. On the second assist, Carlson corralled a puck in the slot and made a slick pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who buried his third goal in two games to put Washington ahead 4-2.

Overall, Carlson now has 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists) in the last 15 games.

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

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We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington


We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington

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.