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Canadian killer blogged about Caps

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Canadian killer blogged about Caps

If you havent heard about the Canadian porn star murderer - yes you read that right you may want to look it up. It is one of the most fascinating real-life horror stories and a tale so bizarre it seems almost made up. The details of his crime and the intrigue of his character are too obscene to describe in this space, but now a new discovery of his past is just too relevant to pass on.

Luka Magnotta, the now-captured suspected killer, once wrote a hockey article that included Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin. Yes, it turns out the psycho has an obsession with Russia and even posed as a native of the country.

Back in December of 2010 Magnotta listed his top five Russian hockey players on a discussion board on HockeyFutures.com. Here is what he wrote about Semin and Ovechkin, whom he ranked 5th and 1st at the time, respectively:

5 - Alexander Semin(notes)

Some would argue that this man might be the most skilled player on this list. He is a crafty stickhandler, a superlative passer, and his shot is absolutely lethal. He only needs about a quarter of a second to release his potent wrist shot, and when he does, goalies can only wave helplessly as the puck whizzes over their shoulder and into the top corner. Living in teammate and countryman Alexander Ovechkin's shadow Semin puts up impressive statistics despite what is, much of the time, a second line role.1 - Alexander Ovechkin

One of the most explosive, dynamic, exciting players the game has ever seen, Alexander Ovechkin is all but unstoppable when he is playing at his best. Not only can Ovechkin punish his opponents on the scoreboard with his laser beam of a shot, but his 237 pound frame and his love of delivering big bodychecks means he can dole out physical damage in equal measure. In just five and a quarter seasons Ovechkin has already accomplished more than most stars do in a career. He already has a Calder trophy as rookie of the year, two Hart trophies as NHL MVP, and led the league in scoring in 2007-08. He has hit 50 goals and 100 points in four of the five seasons he's played, and his 279 career goals to date make him one of the most prolific Russian goal scorers in NHL history. All that, and he's just turned 25 years of age! It is scary to think this guy might still be improving. If he has a long, healthy career there is little question Ovechkin will surpass Sergei Fedorov(notes) as the highest scoring Russian-born player of all time.

Okay, so there is nothing creepy or insane about his thoughts on Semin or Ovechkin. He did, however, write the story under the pseudonym of Katherine Tramell, who according to Deadspin is a misspelling of Sharon Stones character from Basic Instinct. Thats pretty weird.

Also, he tagged the post with his name in Cyrillic, this also according to Deadspin. Okay, thats also weird.

He also apparently made a tribute video to former Capitals player Sergei Federov on YouTube. Now, that is strange if you know about the story and what he ended up using the same account for. Yikes.

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The Caps' penalty kill has been a major factor in the series turnaround

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USA TODAY Sports

The Caps' penalty kill has been a major factor in the series turnaround

For the Capitals to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the keys to the series was going to be the penalty kill. 

For the season, Columbus ranked only 25th in the league on the power play at 17.2-percent, but that number did not reflect the massive improvement the Blue Jackets made with their trade deadline acquisitions.

Since the trade deadline on Feb. 26, Columbus ranked seventh on the power play. The Caps were sixth with both teams converting 25.0-percent of the time.

Where Washington did have an edge, seemingly, was on the penalty kill. Unlike the power play, Columbus' penalty kill was consistently poor all season, finishing 27th in the NHL with a kill rate of only 76.2-percent. While not a strength by any means, the Caps were certainly better on the PK with a kill rate of 80.3-percent, good for 15th in the league.

With two power plays converting at the same rate, Washington had to be able to kill off more of the Blue Jackets' opportunities. They struggled to do that in Game 1 and Game 2.

The Caps were called for four penalties and gave up two power play goals in each of the first two games. Washington scored five power play goals in those games, but their advantage on special teams was mitigated by their inability to keep Columbus from converting. 

There are many reasons why the Caps were able to overcome the 0-2 series deficit and now sit just one win away from advancing to the second round. Chief among those reasons is the improved penalty kill. Since Game 2, Washington has not allowed a single power play goal. The PK has successfully killed off 13 straight penalties including five in Game 5.

"I think as a group, they've all stepped up," Barry Trotz said on a conference call with the media on Sunday. "I don't think I can single out anybody. They've all stepped up. The penalty kill is as good as the five guys that you have, your four and your goaltender. They've been very committed there."

In a series that has seen four out of five games go to overtime, it's not hard to recognize the impact even one goal can have on a game and, by extension, the series. Should the Caps go on to win the series, their ability to adjust their penalty kill to stop the Blue Jackets' suddenly potent power play will be one of the main reasons why.

Trotz would not go into specifics as to the adjustments the team made after Game 2, but did acknowledge the penalty kill has been a "major factor" in the Caps' turnaround this series.

But to finish the job, the penalty kill will have to continue adjusting.

"This is the time when we're still trying to tweak things," Trotz said. "They changed some things on their power play a little bit yesterday, so we'll look to maybe tweak a little bit with our PK."

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How Nicklas Backstrom saved the Capitals 3 different times in Game 5

How Nicklas Backstrom saved the Capitals 3 different times in Game 5

The Capitals found themselves in deep trouble on Saturday.

Game 5 at Capital One Arena provided Washington a golden opportunity to take a 3-2 lead in their 2018 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. A loss -- another home loss -- would have been a devastating blow.

After battling back from a 2-0 series deficit, to lose in Washington would mean facing elimination in Columbus. Game 5 was the game the Caps needed and it would have slipped away from them if not for Nicklas Backstrom.

The Caps’ most underrated superstar -- the one who is constantly overshadowed by the likes of Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby -- took center stage on Saturday as he tipped a Dmitry Orlov shot past Sergei Bobrovsky at 11:53 of overtime to seal the victory for Washington.

“It was just a good shot from [Orlov],” Backstrom said after the game. “I thought before he had a chance to block it, and I got a tip on it, and it’s usually what happens in the playoffs. Tip goals or rebound goals. That’s the way it is. It was nice.”

Backstrom’s overtime goal capped off a three-point night for the veteran center, who also scored in the first period and assisted on a goal from T.J. Oshie.

The team ended up needing every one of his points.

From the start, Columbus outplayed Washington. With the series tied 2-2, a best-of-three mentality took over and the Blue Jackets pushed hard for the pivotal Game 5 win.

It is in those very moments that team needs its superstar players to step up. In Game 3, it was Holtby who stole the show to help Washington steal a win in Columbus.

On Saturday, it was Backstrom.

Columbus converted a shorthanded goal to seize a 1-0 lead in what was shaping up to be a dominant first period. A fluke goal from Backstrom, however, made sure the score was knotted up, 1-1, after the opening frame.

With the puck behind the goal line, Backstrom tried to slip a pass through the crease. Bobrovsky got a piece of the puck with his stick, but the amount of spin on the pass forced the puck to carom off the stick, off the back of Bobrovsky himself, and into the net.

“I was trying to make a pass,” Backstrom said. “Honestly, got lucky. I don’t know who came back-door there but I was trying for him. I’ll take it.”

After a back and forth game, the Blue Jackets came out swinging to start the third. Down 3-2, Columbus tied the game just 2:30 in and made a real push to win the game in regulation. Washington was outshot 16-1 in the third and looked like they had no push at all.

But the Caps looked like a different team when they took the ice for the extra frame. What happened in between periods?

“As I was leaving the room after the period, I could hear guys, the right guys, all saying the right things,” head coach Barry Trotz said.

When later asked if one of those guys was Backstrom, Trotz said, “Absolutely. He's one of the leaders on our team. They were all talking about let's make sure we're doing the right things. There's a lot of pride, lot of good leadership in that room.”

Whatever Backstrom and the other leaders said did the trick. Washington made a strong push in overtime leading to Backstrom’s game-winning goal.

This isn’t the first time Backstrom has delivered. Saturday’s overtime tally is the fourth of his career. That’s the most in franchise history and tied for fifth in NHL history.

Through his efforts on the ice, the Caps were able to erase a bad first period and steal the win in overtime. But it also took a big effort off the ice to get the job done.

“If you just look at the scoresheet, that doesn't say enough of about Nick Backstrom, his contribution from in the dressing room to on the ice to key moments to key faceoffs,” Trotz said.

“I've been on his soapbox about how complete a player he is and I never really worry about Nick Backstrom. He's got enough games under his belt, he's got enough stats to back it up and he's played huge minutes and he's one of our leaders. He's a tremendous hockey player.”