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Capitals find the Winnik formula Saturday night vs. the Islanders

Capitals find the Winnik formula Saturday night vs. the Islanders

Daniel Winnik’s goal entering this season was to chip in more offensively for the Capitals.

And with a pair of goals in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Islanders, the fourth line winger is certainly off to a solid start.

In fact, he's tied for the team lead in goals, with two, after two games.

“We met after the season and I said, 'I think you’re a good penalty killer,'” Coach Barry Trotz said. “'I think you can really help us. I think you’ve got some veteran savvy. But we’re going to need some offense out of you. I think you’re capable of it and don’t forget that part of the game.' I think in his head he just wanted to play defense and penalty kill and that was the role he was given I think in Toronto and he didn’t get much production last year.”

RELATED: Winnik the unlikely hero in Caps' win over Islanders

Last season, Winnik scored two goals in 20 regular season games for the Capitals after being acquired from the Maple Leafs at the trade deadline. And just like Saturday's breakout, both of those goals came in the same game (March 18th vs. the Predators).

On Winnik’s first goal against the Islanders, the 6 foot 2, 206-pounder parked himself in front of Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss and redirected a point shot from John Carlson. On his second strike, the 31-year-old poked the puck ahead to himself, blew past defenseman Travis Hamonic, who lost an edge as he pivoted, and then deked Greiss out of his skates. It was a highlight reel goal for a grinder who's more known for his defense.

“I thought they had a hard time handling our size and our speed as a line,” Winnik said.     

As for the fourth line’s big game, Winnik credited the chemistry he forged with Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson late last season.

“It helps a lot,” Winnik said. “When you’re around guys who talk a lot, especially the [center] you’re playing with a lot. Me and Beags talk about our game a lot about our game and what we’re trying to do out there”

Winnik’s offensive outburst underscored an outstanding game by the fourth line overall. Not only did the unit produce both goals, it also shut down John Tavares' line.

“It’s something all three of us have done throughout our careers,” Winnik said. “Beags is a great shutdown guy. It’s a role I’ve had a lot throughout my career. We like that challenge and it’s nice when you can chip in offensively.”

Beagle recorded his first point—a secondary assist—on Winnik’s first tally.

“Going into the offseason we talked and said we wanted to be more offensive,” Beagle said. “Playing together last year at the end helped because coming into it, you already felt like you had that chemistry.”

Interestingly, Saturday's performance came one game after the fourth line saw only 7:30 of ice time in a 3-2 shootout loss in Pittsburgh. 

“Those games are going to happen like that first game,” Beagle added. “So you just got to be ready when the line is called and get out there and try to make an impact on the game, and that’s what we did. Now we want to try to build off of this game. We want to make an impact as a fourth line. We want to be a good fourth line. And this is a start.”

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”