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Capitals get two goals from T.J. Oshie, shut out the Avalanche

Capitals get two goals from T.J. Oshie, shut out the Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche started their season with impressive wins over the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins, but they could not beat the Caps. Washington handed Colorado the 3-0 loss on Tuesday, the Avalanche's first of the season.

How it happened: After failing to record a point in the first two games, the Capitals' top line came alive Tuesday. Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie both score their first goals of the season in what was a smothering attack. Oshie would later add a second in the third period to ice the game away. Colorado kept the game relatively close thanks to a spectacular performance by goalie Semyon Varlamov, but Philipp Grubauer stopped every shot he faced for the shutout.

What it means: The win makes the Caps 1-0-0 against the Western Conference. Last season, the Caps were 17-8-3 against teams from the west. Those 17 wins were  the second-most in the NHL. The loss was also Colorado head coach Jared Bednar's first NHL loss. He took over the Avalanche after the sudden resignation of Patrick Roy in the offseason.

Honoring Holtby: Braden Holtby did not get the start, but he was still a big part of the action. In recognition of his historic 2015-16 season, the Capitals honored Holtby with a pregame ceremony that included a video tribute with a message from Olaf Kolzig and his parents, among others. You can see the full tribute here.

Special again: The Capitals could not score on their first eight power play opportunities this season, but they tallied twice against Colorado on the man advantage to take a 2-0 lead. In the first period, Ovechkin unleashed a blistering one-timer from the office that beat Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov on the sharp angle. Oshie followed up with a goal in the second period after getting fed perfectly in the slot by Nicklas Backstrom. The Caps finished the night with two power play goals on five opportunities.

A career first for Grubauer: Holtby may have gotten all the praise at the start of the game, but all eyes were on Grubauer at the end as he registered his first NHL shutout. Grubauer was not nearly as tested as Varlamov — he faced 18 shots as opposed to the 40 Varlamov faced — but it was still an impressive night for the German netminder. Grubauer managed a pedestrian 8-9-1 record last season with a .918 save percentage and 2.32 goals-against average, but he did not seem to receive nearly as much support from an otherwise stellar lineup.

Memory lane: Varlamov, a former goalie for the Capitals, played like the player former general manager George McPhee envisioned he would be when he drafted Varlamov 23rd overall in the 2006 draft. Washington could have ended this one early, but for Varlamov's performance. The Caps outshot Colorado 20-5 in the first period and 40 for the game, but Varlamov turned aside all but two of those shots to keep this one close.

Look ahead: The Caps head to the Sunshine State to face the Florida Panthers on Thursday before returning home for a Saturday night matchup with the New York Rangers.

MORE CAPITALS: Caps honor Holtby for historic 2015-16 season

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: The Caps add two defensemen, problem solved?

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: The Caps add two defensemen, problem solved?

The Capitals got their trade deadline started early by trading for defensemen Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek. Washington has been struggling of late, but do their new acquisitions address the team's weaknesses?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir evaluate the two trades and talk about where they could fit into the lineup.

You can listen to the latest episode here on the Capitals Faceoff page or with the player below.

Want even more great Capitals coverage? Follow @TarikNBCS and @JJReganNBCS on Twitter!

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

The Capitals continued to retool their scuffling blue line on Wednesday, acquiring 26-year-old defenseman Jakub Jerabek from Montreal in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

The move comes a couple of days after GM Brian MacLellan dealt a conditional third-round selection to Chicago for swift skating Michal Kempny.

Both Jerabek and Kempny are left shot, puck-moving defensemen who move well and make crisp outlet passes. Both also hail from the Czech Republic.

RELATED: BRADEN HOLTBY BLAMES HIMSELF FOR TAMPA LOSS

The team sees Jerabek as a No. 5 or 6, I’m told.

On Wednesday, the Caps also officially said goodbye to Taylor Chorney, who was claimed off waivers by Columbus. Chorney will report to the Blue Jackets.

The Caps were off on Wednesday as they made their way Florida for Thursday night’s meeting with the Panthers, so it’s unclear how Coach Barry Trotz intends to deploy his new defensemen.

But it’s probably safe to assume that Kempny will move into a spot within the top four with John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

MORE CAPITALS: GET TO KNOW MICHAL KEMPNY

That figures to leave Brooks Orpik and Jerabek on the third pair, while rookies Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey jockey for position as the next man up.

Kempny is expected to make his Caps’ debut on Thursday night.

Is the Caps’ D corps better? Well, that remains to be seen. But it had become clear to MacLellan and Co. in recent weeks that the status quo was not going to cut it. This month, in fact, the team has allowed 39 goals in 10 games. Only the Rangers (40) have allowed more in the same span.

With the trade deadline looming next Monday, the Caps now have roughly $617,000 in cap space, according to www.capfriendly.com, and are at the roster maximum of 23 players. So they would need to make a move in order to add another body.