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Krzyzewski takes Duke to Fort Bragg for workout

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Krzyzewski takes Duke to Fort Bragg for workout

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) Mike Krzyzewski gave his Duke team a taste of his Army past.

The former West Point cadet, player and coach had the Blue Devils at Fort Bragg on Monday for a day of physical training and an open practice in front of a few hundred soldiers.

``I just want our guys to be around the best team in the world, and the best team in the world is our military,'' Krzyzewski said. ``So, for a day, we're going to have that honor.''

For Krzyzewski, the visit to this sprawling Army post in central North Carolina reconnected him to his past.

Before he became ``Coach K,'' he was Bob Knight's point guard at West Point in the 1960s and rose to the rank of captain before resigning in 1974 and getting his record-setting college coaching career off the ground. Before he arrived at Duke in 1980, he coached the Black Knights for five years.

Krzyzewski said his doctors wouldn't let him tackle the obstacle course - which the players called the toughest part of the day - because the 65-year-old has had both hips replaced. But he added that his experiences in the Army were ``good for me at one time in my life, and it's paid good dividends for me, and I wanted them to be exposed to it.''

Getting on the court and practicing wound up being the easiest thing the players did. With the university on fall break until Wednesday, the team had an opening in the schedule to make the 90-mile trip south. They arrived Sunday and spent the night in barracks.

Then came a 5:45 a.m. wake-up call and a march to physical training. They tackled an obstacle course before arriving at the physical fitness center where they practiced. Virtually every player showed up at the gym caked in dirt from the obstacle course.

``We were down in the trenches, working hard, running, exerting our energy and we really had to have a bond, and that's the same bond we have in practice,'' freshman Amile Jefferson said. ``If a guy's not making his push-ups, can't make it, is getting tired, we had to pick him up and it really brought us together as a team.''

Said forward Ryan Kelly: ``It was harder than I thought, and I have the blisters to show for it, but it's something I'll never forget.''

The practice itself was, by most standards, rather vanilla. The Blue Devils don't usually open their practices back in Durham, and they weren't about to give away too many secrets with a national television audience watching this one.

Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon joined Quinn Cook, Alex Murphy and returning big men Mason Plumlee and Kelly with the first team. Redshirt freshman Marshall Plumlee, who has a stress fracture in his left foot, was on crutches with the foot in a boot. Guard Seth Curry participated in drills but was held out of the scrimmage situations with a lower leg injury that the coaches are keeping an eye on, team spokesman Matt Plizga said.

But the priorities for this workout weren't strategy or sorting out the rotation. The goal was to build team unity and put on a show for the troops who filled four sections of bleachers in the gym. As the soldiers began to file in, the Blue Devils stopped stretching and gave them a standing ovation.

``We wanted this trip to help shape us into the team we're going to become, and obviously, practice is just getting started,'' Kelly said. ``But this can be something that we look back on and say it really helped shape who we are.''

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

MORE CAPITALS: KEMPNY EXCITED TO MOVE FROM LAST PLACE CHICAGO TO FIRST PLACE WASHINGTON

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came only 2:30 into the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby.

On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life.

The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.