Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin feasts on Blues for hat trick in Caps' Thanksgiving eve win

Alex Ovechkin feasts on Blues for hat trick in Caps' Thanksgiving eve win

The Capitals defeated the St. Louis Blues on Thanksgiving eve 4-3 thanks to a strong showing from Alex Ovechkin and company. 

How it happened: Carter Hutton had an impressive night in goal for the Blues, but Alex Ovechkin was too much. Ovechkin got things started in the first period thanks to a one-timer on a power play, one of the six penalties called in the first stanza. In the second period, Ovechkin pushed a one-timer wide of Hutton, but the puck made its way back to him seconds later on a carom, and Ovechkin found the back of the net for a 2-0 lead. But just seconds later, Vladimir Tarasenko pushed one past Braden Holtby off an assist from Dimitrij Jaskin.

Evgeny Kuznetsov added a goal in the third period — to go along with one assist — off a nifty pass from Dmitry Orlov to give the Caps a 3-1 lead. Less than a minute later, Ovechkin found the back of the net again on a beautiful wrist shot for the hat trick. With just over a minute left in the game, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored on a power play to cut the deficit to 4-2. Then, with 30 seconds left, Carter Hutton went to the bench and the Blues scored with a man advantage thanks to Tarasenko, making it 4-3. 

What it means: The Caps got off to another fast start, taking a 1-0 lead to the first intermission. The Capitals have outscored their opponents 22-8 in the first period this season. With three games left in November, the Caps have put together a 7-3-1 record in the penultimate month on the calendar. 

Alex OvechKing of Multi-goal games: Alex Ovechkin scored thrice — one-timers from his sweet spot in the first and second period, and a blistering wristshot in the third for a hat trick. When the second goal found the back of the net, Ovechkin officially moved atop the list of players with the most multi-goal games since 1995. Ovechkin has found the back of the net at least twice in 110 games. He made his NHL debut in 2005. 

The last time the Capitals faced the Blues — April 9 of last season — Ovechkin put up a hat trick as well. 

So. Many. Penalties: The referees blew the whistle six times in the first period. The Caps got 23 seconds of 5-on-3 time and nearly a full session of 4-on-4 action. The two teams cut down on the penalties in the second, with the Capitals heading to the box twice, and the Blues just once. The Third period was much cleaner, but a late 

Tale of two nets: Carter Hutton was a busy man for the Blues. The backup netminder faced 25 shots, turning away 21, including a beautiful lunging save to deny Andre Burakovsky in the second period. On the flipside, Braden Holtby had an easy night, thanks to the Capitals' offense dominating time of possession. Holtby faced 21 shots, turning away 18, most of them coming late in the game. Matt Niskanen had a strong showing on defense, which led to the Caps keeping the puck away from Holtby's crease. 

Look ahead: The Caps return to Verizon Center on Friday to host the Buffalo Sabres before heading north of the border to face off against rookie phenom Austen Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Caps then have four days off before returning to the ice to face the Islanders at home on Thursday, Dec. 1.

Quick Links

Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

Quick Links

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.