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Why Nashville's first goal should not have counted

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USA TODAY Sports

Why Nashville's first goal should not have counted

The Caps had a tough first period in Nashville. They were outscored 2-0, outshot 16-4 and called for three penalties with a fourth washed out by a Nashville goal during the delay.

There was also a bit of bad luck in the first period as the referees missed a call in the first period that would have negated the Predators' first goal.

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Brett Connolly tripped Craig Smith at 11:32 in the first period. The referee spotted the penalty and raised his arm signaling a delayed call. Watch what happens after Kyle Turris and Matt Niskanen go after the puck along the boards.

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Niskanen beats Turris to the puck and fires it to the blue line attempting to clear. Remember there is a delayed call coming against the Capitals which means once Washington establishes possession, the play should be called dead. Niskanen's play here should certainly qualify. Smith would go on to score for Nashville on the delay.

Had the refs called the play dead when Niskanen established possession as they should have, Smith would not have scored that first goal.

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All signs point to T.J. Oshie returning to the Caps' lineup in Dallas

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USA TODAY Sports

All signs point to T.J. Oshie returning to the Caps' lineup in Dallas

T.J. Oshie is back.

Almost, anyway.

The Caps’ star winger practiced with his teammates on Monday morning, marking the first time he’s been a full participant in a team setting since getting his head smashed into the boards by San Jose’s Joe Thornton on Dec. 4.

SEE THE LATEST NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

Oshie resumed skating on Dec. 10 and has steadily been ramping up his level of intensity since.    

If Oshie receives final clearance from doctors, he’ll suit up in Dallas on Tuesday night. And, as you might expect, he’s pretty excited about the possibility.

“I felt great,” said Oshie, who noted that this was the fourth documented head injury of his career. “They’ve got me in pretty good shape while I’ve been away. I feel ready.”

Although Coach Barry Trotz said a decision on Oshie’s status won’t be made until Tuesday morning, the fact that he took his normal spot on the right side of the second line with Jakub Vrana and Evgeny Kuznetsov is a strong indication that he’s expected to face the Stars.

Oshie was also back in his usual spot on the first unit power play, where he still leads the team in goals on the man advantage (7), despite missing six games.

Getting a player with Oshie’s skill set back represents a boost for the Caps, who went 5-1-0 while he was sidelined. But, on the flip side, it also means someone who has been playing well will have to come out of the lineup.

“The whole team is playing pretty good hockey right now,” Oshie said. “On the team side, you feel bad that someone is playing good hockey and they’re going to have to sit out.”

He added: “Hopefully I don’t mess up the mojo, but selfishly I want to get back in there and join in on some of the fun.”

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The odd man out on Monday, based on line rushes anyway, was Devante Smith-Pelly, who has not missed a game after winning a spot in training camp.

Here’s what the forward combos looked like at Kettler Capitals Iceplex:

Ovechkin – Backstrom – Wilson
Vrana – Kuznetsov – Oshie
Connolly – Eller – Burakovsky
Stephenson – Beagle – Chiasson

So the plan appears to be for Oshie to bump Chiasson down to the fourth line into Smith-Pelly’s spot. 

With 13 healthy forwards, Trotz said deciding whom will sit out is going to be based on performance and/or role. But that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be an easy choice to make.

“If everybody's playing well,” he said, “I just have to make a tough decision, that’s all.”

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Caps players sing Christmas classics for epic holiday CD

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Via @Capitals Twitter

Caps players sing Christmas classics for epic holiday CD

With the Caps on the road this week, Saturday's game against the Anaheim Ducks was the team's last game in Washington before Christmas.

To celebrate, the Caps released a video prior to the game of their new Christmas CD, WOW Capitals Tunes.Vol2.

Don't remember the first one?

Well, that's because they never made one as Andre Burakovsky declares in the first 20 seconds of the video.

The video and the CD are, of course, a joke, but thankfully the video features several players butchering singing some of your favorite holiday songs such as Philipp Grubauer forgetting the words to "Joy to the World," Braden Holtby doing his best lounge singer impression and Matt Niskanen walking off camera after saying in a deadpan voice "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer."

Watch the video here:

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Unfortunately, as I mentioned above the CD that Burakovsky declares "the best CD in the world, ever, period" does not exist.

If it did, I know I would have a last minute addition to my Christmas lis this year.

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