Capitals

Lions hope to salvage something from final 2 games

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Lions hope to salvage something from final 2 games

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Lions may have finally hit rock bottom for 2012.

Sunday's 38-10 loss to the woeful Arizona Cardinals was Detroit's sixth in a row, and at this point, the goal is simply to salvage some pride in a spoiler role against Atlanta and Chicago, and possibly set a better tone for the offseason.

The Lions host the Falcons on Saturday night.

``You have something to prove every week regardless of winning streak, losing streak, what happened the previous week,'' coach Jim Schwartz said. ``This is a week-to-week business. The people that keep their eyes on that, that are consistent from week to week, are the people that are successful in this league.''

Detroit made the playoffs last season, but at 4-10, there's no chance of a repeat visit.

In fact, the Lions may end up with premium position in the first round of the draft - a spot they occupied for several years but figured they'd left behind.

Detroit took Calvin Johnson with the second pick in 2007, Matthew Stafford at No. 1 two years later and Ndamukong Suh at No. 2 in 2010.

That looked like the nucleus of a rising power in the NFC, especially after the Lions won 10 games a year ago and made the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season.

But now they've taken a step back, and it's fair to wonder what the offseason could look like. Detroit has certainly been unlucky, losing late leads against Green Bay, Houston and Indianapolis, but there were no real redeeming factors last weekend.

Arizona had dropped nine straight and was coming off a 58-0 loss to Seattle - and still, the Cardinals handled the Lions.

Now it's Detroit's turn to reflect after an embarrassing defeat.

``People are competitive, people have pride. People have confidence in themselves,'' Stafford said. ``I think that's what helps people bounce back from stuff like this.''

The only hint of a bright spot right now is Johnson's pursuit of Jerry Rice's single-season record for yards receiving. Johnson needs 182 yards to break Rice's mark of 1,848, set 17 years ago.

``I'm trying to win games, and he's a big part of our offense,'' Stafford said. ``Him getting yards and touchdowns is what we're trying to do.''

Johnson, however, is the only offensive player having a truly great season. Stafford has thrown for 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, after posting 41 and 16 a season ago.

The receiving group - besides Johnson - has been a bit of a mess because of injuries to Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles. Second-year receiver Titus Young was essentially put in exile a few weeks ago, with Schwartz citing behavioral problems.

``Obviously, actions are louder than words right now. It's part of being a professional - seeing how people prepare this week,'' Stafford said. ``Honestly, I have no qualms about it. I know our guys are going to be preparing has hard as they can.''

Suh has 6 1/2 sacks, but the defense has been far from dominant, especially late in games when the Lions have failed to hold on.

With Detroit bottoming out and facing the possibility of a 4-12 finish, about the only way to leave any kind of positive impression would be to pull off an upset in one or both of these final two games.

Atlanta (12-2) is on its way to the playoffs, while Chicago (8-6) still has a berth to play for. The Lions have played other teams of that caliber tough this season.

``You always want to have something positive going into the next season,'' Suh said. ``We're going to definitely see Chicago twice next year. We're going to see, possibly, Atlanta, hopefully next year in the playoffs or some situation like that. You want to play as best as possible and get used to these teams.''

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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

It would have been understandable if Travis Boyd struggled this past week. Something more important was on his mind.

Boyd spent the week in the hospital with his daughter, Hayden, who had been experiencing pain in her throat. He spent the enitre week in the hospital, not leaving until Hershey's game against Laval.

Boyd turned this trial into something incredible as he scored four goals Friday in Hershey's 6-3 win.

Boyd spoke about the ordeal with Zach Fisch of the Bears Radio Network (transcription via RMNB).

“It actually started after the game last Sunday against Rochester," he said. "I went straight from the rink to Urgent Care and then from Urgent Care to the ER. Never left the hospital until Friday morning. We had a successful surgery on Thursday night. Basically just a bad infection in her throat that had to be surgically removed. They had to surgically go in and kind of remove the bacteria and drain out the fluids. Everything went well. She’s doing well.”

Following the game, Boyd dedicated his performance to Hayden.

A four-goal game at the AHL level would have been an incredible accomplishment on its own. The fact that it came during such a trying time for him makes this a truly inspirational story.

You can watch highlights of the game including all four of Boyd's goals here:

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S UPDATED CAPS’ PROSPECT RANKINGS HERE

Other prospect notes:

  • In the Bears' game Friday against Laval, Riley Barber dropped the gloves with Markus Eisenchmid.  Barber was given an extra minor and game misconduct for instigating the fight in the final five minutes of the game. That penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension which Barber served Saturday. Here's a look at the fight.

  • Liam O'Brien had a pair of two-goal games over the week, scoring twice against Laval Friday and then two more against Toronto on Monday. Of his four goals, three of them were empty netters.
  • As the Capitals prepare for their Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3, Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley—a native of Perth, Australia—made a plea to see Nathan Walker recalled for the game.  “I’ll have to put a quick shout out to the one Australian that’s playing for the Caps now, Nathan Walker. If you could just bring him up for this game, that’d be great. Because an Australian being in a hockey game is like a Jamaican bobsled team. It doesn’t happen very often.”

  • Brian Pinho was honored Friday in Providence College's Senior Night. He has served as captain of the team this season and as an assistant captain in his junior year. He spoke with The Cowl on what being a leader on the team means to him. "I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility. I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard every day.” You can read the full story here.
  • Goalie Adam Carlson, who was on loan to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, was reassigned to the Kansas City Mavericks also of the ECHL. He started two games for his new team and turned aside 42 of the 48 total shots he faced.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in his week's updated rankings.

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Panthers game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-PANTHERS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.