Capitals

Douglas leads Fever past Mystics

Douglas leads Fever past Mystics

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- A strong performance against the Washington Mystics has pushed the Indiana Fever a bit closer to the top of the Eastern Conference.Katie Douglas scored 18 points to lead the Fever to an 83-68 victory over the Mystics on Tuesday night.Tamika Catchings had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Fever (14-8), who have won five of six since returning from the Olympic break and continue their race for the No. 1 spot in the East.Reserve Noelle Quinn had 13 points and five rebounds for the Mystics (5-18), while Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton scored 10.The Fever went on a 10-2 run in the third quarter and led by as many as 14 points in sending the Mystics to their fifth loss in the last six games.The Fever took a 2-1 series lead on the Mystics this season. The teams meet for the final time Sept. 21."We came out much better in the second half," Fever coach Lin Dunn said. "We won the boards again. We are getting continued help from our bench. We are definitely benefiting from the Olympic break."Shavanta Zellous hit a 3-pointer to spark the run with 6:19 left in the third."It's all about our 11 players and each and every night somebody different provides the energy and spark for us," Douglas said.While Douglas led in scoring, Zellous, at times, was the spark on her 26th birthday. She had 13 points, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.The Fever pushed it to 56-44 midway in the third quarter when Catchings was fouled on a layup at the 4:41 mark.Douglas scored on a layup to give the Fever a 58-44 lead, their largest of the game to that point."I thought we played hard and it was a physical game," Mystics coach Trudi Lacey said. "They made their run in the third quarter and we couldn't close it."Jessica Davenport made two free throws to give the Fever a five-point lead at the end of the first quarter and they went on to lead 43-37 at halftime."We started off well," Quinn said. "Gave up too many three-point shots. In the third quarter we fell on our Achilles heel and let too many three-point baskets be made today."Indiana made 10 3-pointers, reaching double figures in that category for the seventh time this season.Veteran forward Iziane Castro Marques made her first appearance with Washington when she entered the game with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. The Mystics signed the free agent on Sunday. She had four points.NOTES: With four assists, Douglas surpassed Nikki Teasley for 15th place on the all-time career assists list. ... Indiana's 53.6 percent shooting is the second-best shooting performance this season. ... Washington's 23 rebounds is the fewest by an Indiana opponent this season.

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How a faster shot from Evgeny Kuznetsov could have changed Tuesday's outcome

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USA TODAY Sports

How a faster shot from Evgeny Kuznetsov could have changed Tuesday's outcome

With the score tied at 0 in the second period, the Caps had a chance to put the first goal on the board on their second power play of the night. Specifically, Evgeny Kuznetsov had a chance to score the first goal of the game and his first of the season. But with a golden opportunity on his stick, Kuznetsov waited too long to shoot the puck the opportunity was lost. It is an issue that has seemingly plagued Kuznetsov throughout his career and one that may have cost the Caps a chance at two points on Tuesday.

After a scrum in the left corner, the puck was fed over to John Carlson on the right near the blue line. With some room to work with, he advanced to the top of the right circle and then fired a pass cross-ice to Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov had set up shop in Alex Ovechkin’s office in the left faceoff circle and the Leafs evidently forgot about him.

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With the puck on his stick and no one between him and Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen, Kuznetsov waited. He waited so long in fact that forward Connor Brown was able to backcheck and turned what would have been a very good opportunity into a much easier save for Andersen.

“A guy caught him,” Barry Trotz said after the game. “Just get it off quick. Guys close quick on you defensively.”

Would Kuznetsov have scored if he had fired the shot? Would the Caps have won if he had scored? We don’t know, but Kuznetsov would have had a better chance at scoring had he shot the puck quickly and Washington would have been in a better position to win if they had gotten the first goal on the board.

It was just another moment that made fans watching in Capital One Arena and at home yell in unison, “Kuznetsov, shoot the puck!”

MORE CAPITALS: A SHORTHANDED CAPS TEAM SUFFERED AN EARLY INJURY AGAINST TORONTO

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Tarik El-Bashir's three stars from Caps vs. Maple Leafs

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Tarik El-Bashir's three stars from Caps vs. Maple Leafs

In a rematch of last year’s ridiculously entertaining first round playoff matchup, the high-flying Maple Leafs skated away with a 2-0 victory over the Caps on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. The Caps are now 3-3-1 on the season.

Here are Tarik’s three stars of the game.

1-Connor Brown, Maple Leafs

Most people had Brown scoring the decisive goal, right? The winger started the season on the fourth line but was promoted to the third line ahead of this game—and he made the most of the opportunity. At 5:53 of the third period, Brown fought off Evgeny Kuznetsov, pounced on a rebound and pounded the puck between Braden Holtby’s pads. Interestingly, the Leafs came into the game leading the league in goals per at 5.20.

2-Braden Holtby, Capitals

The Caps’ starter did all he could, turning away 28 of 29 shots he faced. Holts was at his best on the penalty kill, where he stopped all three shots the Leafs put on him. His best save of the game likely came in the opening moments of the game—a right pad stop on James van Riemsdyk, who was looking to finish a 2-on-1.

3-John Carlson, Capitals

With Matt Niskanen week-to-week with an upper body injury, the minutes load has fallen on No. 74’s shoulders. And it did again vs. Toronto. Carlson finished with 27:33 of ice time. He also had a couple of good looks early on but he couldn’t finish.

Do you agree? Give us your thoughts in the comments.

More Capitals: Must See Photos: Toronto 2 Caps 0 10/17/17