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Capitals leave Coliseum with empty feeling


Capitals leave Coliseum with empty feeling

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When the Capitals look back on Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders in their final game at Nassau Coliseum, they will remember the decibel level, the deafening chants of “Yes, Yes, Yes,” and the 78 glass-rattling hits.  

But mostly, they will remember the missed opportunities they created while generating 39 shots on New York goaltender Jaroslav Halak.

Like the 2-on-1 by Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward that ended with Halak getting his catching arm on Ward’s shot early in the game. Or the clear look by Alex Ovechkin from the high slot that sailed wide right. Or the yawning net in front of Marcus Johnsson that he failed to hit.

The Capitals and Islanders were two very even teams on Saturday and because the Isles were one shot better -– Nikolay Kulemin’s game-winner midway through the final period proved to be the difference -- they will go at it one more time on Monday night at Verizon Center.

“You’ve got two very determined teams,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “Two teams that are well prepared. Two teams going nose to nose. It’s a heavyweight bout, that’s what it is.”

If that’s the case, the Caps couldn’t stay off the ropes enough in Round 6, letting the Isles hang around just long enough to win it. 

“We knew they were going to come out hard and they did,” said Caps defenseman John Carlson, who scored a power-play goal in the closing seconds of the first period. “I thought we did a good job coming out of the first period 1-1. We had a bunch of chances to make it 2-1 and we didn’t. We didn’t finish that well.”

The Capitals outshot the Islanders 16-9 in the opening period but were outshot 17-10 in the second. The two teams exchanged chances in the final period, but Kulemin took advantage of a busted play to slip a forehander behind Braden Holtby for his first goal of the series.

“We had a couple looks, but they had too many looks,” Trotz said. “I thought we were too loose in a few areas around the net. When they had some quality chances Braden was good, and when we had quality chances Halak was good.”

In the end, Trotz said, the Islanders used the energy and desperation of their crowd to push the series to its limit.

“At the end of the day, the desperation level of the Islanders was just a little bit higher than ours,” Trotz said. “We’re in a winner-take-all situation.”

Carlson said there is nothing the Islanders can show them on Monday that they haven’t already seen.

“We know what we’re getting ourselves into,” he said. “We know they’re a team that forechecks hard. We know they skate and can move the puck and they’ve done that. We’ve got to do a better job slowing them down out of their zone and through the neutral zone. And we’ve got to bury our chances. I feel like we had a ton of them.”

And because they didn’t cash in, the Caps and Isles will roll the dice one more time for a chance to face the rested and supremely confident New York Rangers in Round 2.

MORE CAPITALS: Chimera in brief altercation with Islanders fan

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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.”