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Capitals' Karl Alzner talks groin injury that forced him out of Game 6

Capitals' Karl Alzner talks groin injury that forced him out of Game 6

Brooks Orpik had a fractured femur early in the season and a concussion in the first round of the playoffs. Jay Beagle broke his hand and his grip strength was at 70 percent when he returned to the lineup. John Carlson needed a “procedure” to repair a broken ankle.

But the Capitals’ most devastating injury of the season came in the final game of the playoffs when franchise Iron Man Karl Alzner felt his groin pop early in Game 6 on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Having played through a broken thumb, a strained oblique and a hip flexor, Alzner said the worst experience in his hockey career came in the second period against the Penguins, when he took two shifts and was forced to watch the Pens score twice on the power play to take a 3-0 lead.

“It was hard to see that we had done such a good job on the PK the whole playoffs and then for them to finally get two goals,” Alzner said. “And to be watching it from the bench, that part was hard for me to see. I’m very proud of the guys and the way they were able to come back in the third, that was phenomenal, but not a fun 20 minutes of my life.”

Alzner said a cortisone injection helped “calm down” his groin injury and he felt the best he had all series before Game 6.

“And then it was just kind of a weird one-two movement and I just felt it pop and we went in and had a look at it.”

It was decided Alzner would be hurting the Capitals more than helping them if he continued playing. As a result, John Carlson logged more than 33 minutes and Matt Niskanen logged more than 30 minutes.

“Obviously, he's a warrior,” Caps center Jay Beagle said. “I'm not even sure how long he had that or how many guys knew. I think he was battling it for a little bit, so to see him not be able to finish that last game, I know was tough on him. I'll never forget the look on his face after that game.”

Alzner said he should know after this weekend whether he will require surgery.

“I’m hoping not,” he said. “I’m not a fan of surgery, but I’m also not a doctor, so we’ll figure out what they decide.”

Alzner appears to be the only Capital who could require surgery in the offseason, but that could change. Last year on breakup day Nicklas Backstrom said he was healthy in the playoffs, then underwent hip surgery that required an entire summer of rehabilitation.

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

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

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).


The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.


The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney


The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).


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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NHL Awards tracker: How Malkin is helping Ovechkin's case for the Hart


NHL Awards tracker: How Malkin is helping Ovechkin's case for the Hart

A week by week look at where the race for the major individual NHL awards stands and which Caps could be in contention.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been red-hot as of late and so has Evgeni Malkin. In his last nine games, Malkin has tallied a whopping 11 goals and 17 points. His current run has some people talking about him contending for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player.

But if you want to talk about Malkin for the Hart, you have to talk about Alex Ovechkin as well.

Malkin has 66 points this season, Ovechkin has 65. Even with his impressive goal run of late, Malkin still trails Ovechkin in the goal-scoring race 34-32. What's more, Ovechkin's Capitals still hold a three-point lead over Pittsburgh with two games in hand in the Metropolitan Division.

Granted all of this could change by next week. Perhaps Malkin will pass Ovechkin in goals or the Penguins will pass the Caps in the standings which will change the conversation. Until then, however, there's no way to push Malkin's Hart candidacy without thinking about Ovechkin. What he is doing at the age of 32 with a Capitals team in which no one really knew what to expect is more impressive than what the 31-year-old Malkin is doing with players like Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby with the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is third among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With two rookies on the blue line and an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.


Braden Holtby

In contention for: Vezina

Holtby is on pace to be a 40-win goalie for the fourth consecutive season. He would be the first goalie in NHL history to accomplish that feat.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

If Malkin is a Hart candidate, so is Ovechkin who has done more with less in Washington this season.

Barry Trotz

In contention for: Jack Adams

The Caps still hold a three-point lead in the Metropolitan Division despite having two rookies on the blue line, dealing with more injuries than they have seen in years and down offensive years for some of its top players. Trotz deserves a lot of credit for that.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!