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AAA Keys to the Game: Capitals vs. Coyotes

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AAA Keys to the Game: Capitals vs. Coyotes

The Capitals (43-10-4, 90 points) will play their second game of a four-game homestand tonight when they take on the Arizona Coyotes (27-25-6, 60 points). Here are our AAA Keys to the Game:

Where they Caps stand: The Caps have won eight of their last nine games and lead the NHL with 90 points, 16 more than the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.  If the season ended today they’d face the eighth-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins (68 points) in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Where the Coyotes stand: Arizona is coming off a 6-4 loss to the Blues, which ended a 2-1-0 homestand. The Coyotes 3-2-0 in their last five and 3-6-1 in their last 10. They sit in 10th place in the Western Conference standings, five points out of a playoff spot and 10 points ahead of the last-place Edmonton Oilers.

Who’s questionable for the Caps: Third-line center Marcus Johansson missed Monday’s morning skate with an illness and will be a game-time decision.  If he can’t play look for Mike Richards to take his spot on the third line. If he can play, Richards likely will center a fourth line with Brooks Laich and Stan Galiev, whose speed would make him better suited to face the Coyotes than Michael Latta.

Who’s questionable for the Coyotes: Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson also will be a game-time decision after suffering a lower body injury Saturday night against the Blues. Ekman-Larsson leads the Coyotes with 45 points. He participated in the Coyotes' morning skate but his status remains uncertain. 

Who’s in goal for the Caps: Braden Holtby (37-6-3, 2.17, .924) will make his 48th start for the Caps. He leads the NHL with 37 wins and is on pace for 53 wins in 68 starts. Last season Holtby had 41 wins in 73 starts. 

Who’s in goal for the ‘Yotes: Louis Domingue, 23, pronounced (doh-MIHNG) will see the Caps for the first time. He is 12-9-4 with a 2.67 GAA and .913 save percentage in 25 games this season.

Milestone watch: Nicklas Backstrom is one goal shy of passing Kelly Miller (162) for 12th place on the Capitals franchise goals list.

Remember us: This is the first of two meetings between the two teams.  The Caps are 31-26-12-2 all-time against Arizona and 21-9-5-1 at home against the Coyotes. 

Who’s hot: Alex Ovechkin has four points in the past two games. Evgeny Kuznetsov has six points in his past four games. Max Domi has six points in his past three games.

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz: Orpik 'didn't even look rusty'

Projected lineups:

CAPITALS

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams  
Andre Burakovsky - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie  
Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Tom Wilson  
Brooks Laich - Mike Richards - Michael Latta 

Defense pairs

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner  
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson  
Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov  

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer  

Injured: Jay Beagle (upper body) 
Scratched: Stanislav GalievTaylor Chorney  

COYOTES

Forward lines

Tobias Rieder - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker   
Max Domi - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair   
Jordan Martinook - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan   
Kyle Chipchura - Tyler Gaudet - Viktor Tikhonov  

Defense pairs

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy   
Kevin Connauton - Michael Stone   
Klas Dahlbeck - Zbynek Michalek   

Goaltenders 

Louis Domingue (starter) -  Niklas Treutle  

Injured: Boyd Gordon (upper body), Mike Smith (abdominal surgery), Joe Vitale (fractured orbital bone),Anders Lindback (lower body) 
Scratched: Jarred Tinordi, Nicklas Grossman 

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.

RELATED: USA WOMEN WIN GOLD OVER RIVAL CANADA

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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.