Capitals

Florida State-North Carolina State Preview Capsule

Florida State-North Carolina State Preview Capsule

No. 3 Florida State (5-0, 2-0 ACC) vs. N.C. State (3-2, 0-1), 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

Line: Florida State by 14 1/2.

Series Record: Florida State leads 22-10.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Florida State's first ACC road game could end with the Seminoles having an even firmer hold on the Atlantic Division. They've already beaten Clemson, so a win against the Wolfpack would give them victories against the two teams projected to be their biggest challengers. As for N.C. State, a loss would put Tom O'Brien's squad at 0-2 in the league and essentially end its preseason goal of contending for the ACC crown.

KEY MATCHUP

The Wolfpack's offensive line against the Seminoles past rush. N.C. State is expected to start its fourth different combination in front of QB Mike Glennon this season due to injuries. N.C. State has given up an ACC-worst 16 sacks this season, and those protection issues have played at least some part in N.C. State's mistake-prone performances this year. Florida State won't make things any easier, entering the game with a league-best 15 sacks - seven coming from DE Cornellius Carradine.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Florida State: RB Chris Thompson. Thompson missed much of last year with a back injury, but the senior is second in the ACC with 431 yards rushing. He's averaging nearly 9 yards per carry and has scored five touchdowns, providing the Seminoles with a strong ground game to go with QB EJ Manuel's run-or-throw ability that has FSU averaging a league-best 51 points and 544 yards per game.

N.C. State: CB David Amerson. Amerson is having a bumpy junior year after setting an ACC record with 13 interceptions last year. The cornerback was in primary coverage on three of Miami's five touchdown passes last week, got beat on another long TD toss when he thought the play was dead on an offsides call and was the last defender with a desperation chance to run down the Hurricanes' Phillip Dorsett on the go-ahead 62-yard scoring pass late in the 44-37 loss. He'll have to regroup quickly against the Seminoles to provide some stability in the secondary.

FACTS & FIGURES

The game will mark the first time a top-five opponent has visited N.C. State's Carter-Finley Stadium since 1998, when the Wolfpack upset the second-ranked Seminoles 24-7. ... Florida State won last year's meeting 34-0 in Tallahassee, and has beaten the Wolfpack in four of the past five seasons. ... N.C. State has allowed 52 points in the first quarter this year, but just 55 in the other three quarters combined. ... The Seminoles rank in the top 10 nationally in both scoring and total offense, as well as scoring and total defense.

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

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NBC Sports Washington

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.