Quick Links

AAA Keys to the game: Caps vs. Flyers


AAA Keys to the game: Caps vs. Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- With the Capitals (10-4-0, 20 points) set to visit the Flyers (5-7-3, 13 points) tonight at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. pregame, CSN), here are our AAA Keys to the Game: 

Stopping Ovi: Alex Ovechkin’s 15-shot performance in the Caps’ 1-0 loss to the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday night marked the first time since the NHL’s 1967-68 expansion that a player recorded that many shots without scoring a goal.

His next goal will make him Russia’s all-time leading NHL goal scorer. He currently sits tied with Sergei Fedorov with 483 goals in 773 games. In 37 career games against the Flyers, Ovechkin has 29 goals and 17 assists for 46 points and is a minus-4. 

Ovechkin’s 15 shots matched his career high and marked the 17th time in his career he’s recorded 10 or more shots. Since 1987-88, former Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque has recorded the most shots in a game (19 in 1991), followed by Atlanta’s Marian Hossa (16  in 2006) Ovechkin and Toronto’s Dave Andreychuk (15 in 1993). 

Ovechkin has now gone 195 straight games with at least one shot, three games short of his previous mark of 198 straight games with a shot from 2007-10. Bourque once went 360 straight games with at least one shot on goal.

“It’s the release,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “He gets puck through when there are people right in his face. He changes the puck position. It might only be a foot but he gets it by a player’s skate. 

“When he comes down off the wing and he cuts to the middle he has that uncanny ability to get around a defender or through the defender. There’s a reason he’s scored as many goals as he has because he has that unique ability to get the puck through.”

No turning back: Caps goaltender Braden Holtby, who will make his 13th start of the season tonight, said he spent time Thursday reviewing the goal-line Andreas Athanasiou goal that squirted under him Tuesday night in Detroit. 

“I watched it a bunch and it’s one of those one-in-a-million things you don’t ever think is going to happen,” Holtby said. “We looked at it today and I still don’t know how the puck got under there.”

Holtby said despite outside advice, he’ll continue using the reverse vertical horizontal technique to cover the nearside post. 

Getting up early: The Flyers have lost seven of their last eight and are coming off a 4-0 home loss to the Colorado Avalanche in which they were booed off the ice. They are now an NHL worst 0-6-3 when  allowing the first goal. The Capitals are 6-1-0 when scoring first.

“They’ll be ready to go,” said Caps goalie Braden Holtby. “I don’t think we’ve been very happy with our last two games, either. They’ve changed their identity a little bit (by hiring Dave Hakstol to replace Craig Berube) so I think we’re going to see a better hockey game now than in the past few years, when we came here and it seemed like a bit of a sideshow at times.”

Holtby, you’ll recall, was involved in a third-period line brawl when Flyers goaltender Ray Emery skated the length of the ice to fight him in a 7-0 Capitals victory on Nov. 1, 2013.

Remember me? T.J. Oshie played under Flyers coach Dave Hakstol when both were at the University of North Dakota, but he also roomed with Flyers center Chris VandeVelde, who has one goal and one assist in 15 games this season.

The Flyers also have goaltender Michael Neivirth, who is expected to back up Steve Mason tonight after allowing four goals in Tuesday night’s loss. Neuvirth, who was taken by the Caps in the second round of the 2006 NHL draft and spent parts of six seasons with the Caps, is 3-3-1 with a 2.08 GAA and .939 SP for Philadelphia.

Caps right wing Justin Williams, 34, broke into the NHL with the Flyers. A first-round pick of Philadelphia in 2000 (28th overall), Williams played four seasons with the Flyers before getting traded to Carolina, where he won his first of three Stanley Cups.

RELATED: Orpik questionable, Grubauer injured in morning skate


Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Andre Burakovsky

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Justin Williams

Brooks Laich - Michael Latta - Tom Wilson

Defense pairings

Nate Schmidt/Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov - Nate Schmidt/Taylor Chorney


Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)

Scratches: Taylor ChorneyChandler Stephenson


Forward lines

Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Sam Gagner - Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier

Ryan White - Scott Laughton - Chris VandeVelde

Defense pairings

Evgeny Medvedev - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Nick Schultz - Luke Schenn


Steve Mason (starter) - Michal Neuvirth

Injured: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower body), R.J. Umberger (lower body)

Scratches: Brandon Manning

MORE CAPITALS: Prospect Report: Galiev proving he's NHL ready

Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


Quick Links

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Alex Ovechkin further cemented his place in NHL history, John Carlson stayed hot and Braden Holtby was good when called upon as the Caps downed the Stars, 4-3, at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.

The victory was Washington’s fifth in the past six games. It also marked the Caps’ first win over Dallas in D.C. since 2006.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season and the 602nd of his career in the second period to give the Caps a short-lived 3-2 edge in the second period.

The goal put Ovi back atop the league as he seeks a seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. It also pushed him past Jari Karri and into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin has now victimized Kari Lehtonen 22 times, which is tied for the most goals he’s scored against a single netminder. (Henrik Lundqvist has also given up 22 goals to No. 8). Ovi also had a couple of secondary helpers.

2-John Carlson, Capitals

Carlson scored the game-winner 4:59 with left to play, blasting a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Caps ahead 4-3.

Carlson also notched an assist, which allowed him to stay even with Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg had two assists. Both players ended the game with 61 points—tied for the most among all NHL defensemen.    

3-Alexander Radulov, Stars

From his first shift, it was apparent that Radulov was determined to leave his mark on the game. And he did just that, recording a goal, an assist and boarding minor that bloodied Caps defenseman Michal Kempny. Radulov’s goal—a redirection of a John Klingberg shot—was his 26th and it evened the score, 2-2, in the second period.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.