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Capitals, Ovechkin slumping at same time


Capitals, Ovechkin slumping at same time

The Capitals have made great strides winning games when Alex Ovechkin does not score a goal -- they are 19-7-5 in games their captain plays but doesn’t score – but as you can imagine, they’re far better when he does.

In the 35 games this season Ovechkin has lit the lamp, the Caps are 30-5-0. Which is probably why there’s a greater emphasis when Ovechkin, who has a league-high 41 goals, slips into a scoring funk like the one he’s in now.

Ovechkin has just one goal in his last eight games. The Caps are 4-3-1 in those games but when asked about his captain’s recent scoring slump Capitals coach Barry Trotz had an interesting reply.

“I need all our guys to play at the level they need to play at,” Trotz said following Saturday night’s 5-2 loss in San Jose, in which Ovechkin was held to just two shots.

“Everybody we’re playing is in playoff mode. They’re fighting for playoff position and they’re marking us and they’re using us as a little bit of a yardstick based on our record and every game is hard. You’ve got to fight for inches and right now we’ve got some guys, they’re playing hard but we’re not fighting for enough inches.

“You’re going to have to fight for the inches in the playoffs and you’ve got to prepare that way for the playoffs.”

Trotz made that message clear on Saturday night when he moved Mike Richards onto the third line with Jason Chimera, while moving Marcus Johansson to right wing and dropping Tom Wilson to a fourth line with center Jay Beagle and left wing Daniel Winnik.

Trotz noted that he needs more from Chimera, who has gone nine games without a point, and Johansson, who has one goal in his last 15 games. Wilson has just one goal in his last 16 games.

“That (third) line hasn’t done much lately and I was trying to change it around because we need four lines to be able to go. I need Chimmer and I need Mojo going in a positive way right now and I don’t see much happening with that line lately, so I broke it up.

“(Richards) has been playing good and I thought he might stabilize them or give them a jump.”

The Capitals went 2-1-1 during their weeklong road trip to Boston, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose, with three of those four games decided beyond regulation. They return to Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Monday and to Verizon Center on Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Seven of the Caps’ final 14 games will be played at Verizon Center, where they are 26-6-2 this season.

[RELATED: Alzner on how Williams has quickly become a leader for the Caps

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3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center. 

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Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

When: 5:00 p.m. ET

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

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


The Capitals (41-23-7) take on the Flyers (36-25-11) Sunday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. ET in Philadelphia.


The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

4:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
4:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
5:00 p.m. — Capitals at Flyers
7:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
8:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
9:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


The Capitals-Flyers 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.


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.