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After another disappointing preseason result, is it time to worry about the Caps?

After another disappointing preseason result, is it time to worry about the Caps?

If Wednesday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils had a depressingly familiar feel to it, there’s a reason for that.

The Capitals fell 4-1 in their home preseason finale, their fourth loss in five preseason games. In all four of their losses, they have allowed four goals, while scoring only a combined three goals. Overall in the preseason, Washington has been outscored 18-7 with only two five-on-five goals to show for their efforts.

Is it too early to worry about the Caps? Yes. Of course it is. But that doesn't mean there aren't thing they need to very quickly improve.


Through five games, one cannot help but notice how one-sided these games have been and it’s not something the Capitals are happy about.

“Obviously the results of the preseason aren't really something you really take into account,” Braden Holtby said, who allowed four goals on 33 shots to New Jersey. “It's more how we're playing and I don't think we're playing at a good enough level yet.”

“The biggest disappointment is we haven't found our game,” head coach Barry Trotz said following Wednesday’s loss. “Our lineup, being full or not, you'd like to see it closer to where it needs to [be].”
So what has gone wrong?
On Wednesday, the problem was poor defense at the start. The Devils scored all four of their goals in the first period including three power play goals on three power play opportunities.
“Don’t do that again,” John Carlson said when asked what his takeaway from Wednesday’s game was. “I feel like we harp on starts a lot and they mean a lot so we can't put ourselves in that hole and be that sloppy and expect to do well in that game.”
Defense is a concern for the Capitals this season as they have only three true top-four defensemen on their roster. Aaron Ness skated with Carlson on the second pair in a lineup that looked very close to what the opening night roster is believed to look like.
Another issue in the preseason has been on the other end of the ice where the Caps are just not getting enough production. Not only does Washington have only seven goals in five games, just one has come from the team’s presumed top-six. Four of those goals have been scored by Nathan Walker, Devante Smith-Pelly, Alex Chiasson and Tyler Graovac, fringe players who are competing just to make the roster.
“Everybody from our leadership group to our top players, we have to get some production there and they know it too,” Trotz said.
The good news is that all preseason results should be taken with a grain of salt. The Colorado Avalanche, the worst team in the NHL last season, went undefeated in the preseason in 2016 with six wins.
But with only two games remaining in their preseason slate, the Capitals are running out of time to get back on track before the games start to matter.
“You want to obviously find your game as quick as you can,” Holtby said. “That's the goal, obviously. We're using these games as preparation to move into the regular season and obviously the results and the way we've played haven't been what we're expecting. That's not a reason to panic, that's a reason to work harder and push ourselves even mroe and that's what we're going to do.”


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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.


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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.