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Capitals ready to show off their All-Star skills


Capitals ready to show off their All-Star skills

NASHVILLE -- Tonight, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby will be asked to do something he’s never done in his life: try to stop a succession of the world’s best shooters in the NHL All-Star Breakaway Challenge.

And while he knows it will be difficult, he’s just happy he won’t have to face Metro Division teammate John Tavares of the New York Islanders

Asked who is the most dynamic player in the NHL, Holtby paused for a moment.

“I’d have to put Tavares up there,” he replied. “In that playoff series we had against him (last season) he might not have put up the stats he wanted to (2 goals, 4 assists in 7 games), but every time he touched the puck it was nerve-racking.”

Those nerves will be put to the test again tonight in the NHL Skills Competition (7 p.m., NBCSN).

While Caps center Evgeny Kuznetsov was chosen to participate in the Breakaway Challenge, center Nicklas Backstrom will be a passer in the Accuracy Shooting contest. Backstrom, Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby will participate in the Skills Challenge Relay and the Shootout.

Here is a look at all six events and their participants tonight:

NHL Fastest Skater

Four players from each team will test their speed, facing off against an opponent in a two-skater race. The race track for the head-to-head match-ups is the border of the rink split in half lengthways. Timing devices will record each skater to determine the winner of each match. If a race ends in a tie, each of the teams will be awarded one point. The skater with the fastest time in the head-to-head match-ups will skate a full lap of the outside border of the rink, in the direction of their choosing, in an attempt to breakMike Gartner's record (13.386). If, at the completion of the event, two skaters are tied for the fastest overall time, both skaters will skate a full lap of the rink in an attempt to break the historical best record.

Points Available: 6 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the fastest skater scores a bonus point; if the fastest skater is successful in breaking Mike Gartner's record an additional bonus point will be awarded.

Dylan LarkinDetroit Red WingsBrandon SaadColumbus Blue JacketsErik KarlssonOttawa Senators;Kris LetangPittsburgh PenguinsRoman JosiNashville PredatorsMatt DucheneColorado Avalanche;Taylor HallEdmonton OilersDustin ByfuglienWinnipeg Jets

Breakaway Challenge

Fans will have two opportunities to exercise their vote in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge. While five spots will be determined by team captains, one guaranteed spot in this event will be determined by the fans, who will vote on Twitter as part of the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge Fan Vote campaign.

The eligible candidates are forwards Matt Duchene of the Colorado AvalancheDylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings and Brandon Saad of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Fans can vote via Twitter for their favorite eligible player by including his hashtag -- #NHLBreakawayDuchene, #NHLBreakawayLarkin or #NHLBreakawaySaad. Voting opened Tuesday and close Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.

Each team will provide one goalie to participate in this challenge. Each shooter will attempt two shots, and teams will alternate after each shot. Style, creativity, and flair are encouraged. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply.

As soon as the last competitor completes his routine, fans in-arena and watching on television in the U.S. and Canada will get another opportunity to make their case on Twitter by casting their vote using the hashtag that corresponds to the player of their choice. The shooter with the highest fan vote will be crowned the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge winner and score one point for his team.

Points Available: 1 – The shooter with the highest percentage of fan votes scores one point.

Brandon SaadColumbus Blue JacketsEvgeny KuznetsovWashington CapitalsP.K. SubbanMontreal CanadiensCory SchneiderNew Jersey DevilsJames NealNashville PredatorsMatt DucheneColorado AvalancheBrent BurnsSan Jose SharksJonathan QuickLos Angeles Kings

RELATED: Capitals Six-Pack: Will Caps make a trade before the deadline?

Accuracy Shooting

Four shooters from each team will participate, with two additional players serving as passers. This event will consist of four head-to-head match-ups, with one shooter from each team per round. The goal is to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The teams will be situated at opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate attempts. The first shooter to hit all four targets wins.

Points Available: 5 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the player who hits all four targets in the fastest time scores the bonus point.

John TavaresNew York IslandersPatrice BergeronBoston BruinsClaude GirouxPhiladelphia Flyers;Evgeni MalkinPittsburgh PenguinsPatrick KaneChicago BlackhawksJoe PavelskiSan Jose Sharks;Corey PerryAnaheim DucksJamie BennDallas Stars

Passers: Nicklas BackstromWashington CapitalsJaromir JagrFlorida PanthersDrew DoughtyLos Angeles KingsVladimir TarasenkoSt. Louis Blues

Skills Challenge Relay

This timed relay event – involving 14 skaters and two goalies from each team – will consist of four relays with five challenges each: One Timers, with three shooters and one passer per team; Passing, with one passer per team; Puck Control, with one skater per team; Stick-Handling, with one skater per team; and Goalie Goals, with one goalie per team.

Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next challenge with the exception of one timers, passing and goalie goals in which a maximum of forty-five seconds will be allocated. The goal is to finish all five challenges faster than the opponent.

Points Available: 3 - The team with the fastest time in each heat scores one point; the team with the fastest overall time scores one bonus point.

One-timer right shooters: Aaron EkbladFlorida PanthersErik KarlssonOttawa SenatorsSteven StamkosTampa Bay LightningShea WeberNashville PredatorsDrew DoughtyLos Angeles Kings;Corey PerryAnaheim Ducks

One-timer passers: Patrice BergeronBoston BruinsTaylor HallEdmonton Oilers

Mini-net passer: Nicklas BackstromWashington CapitalsDaniel SedinVancouver Canucks

Puck control relay: Justin FaulkCarolina HurricanesJohnny GaudreauCalgary Flames

Stick Handling: Claude GirouxPhiladelphia FlyersPatrick KaneChicago Blackhawks

Goalie Goals: Braden HoltbyWashington CapitalsPekka RinneNashville Predators

One-timer left shooters: Ryan McDonaghNew York RangersLeo KomarovToronto Maple LeafsRyan O'ReillyBuffalo SabresMark GiordanoCalgary FlamesJames NealNashville PredatorsVladimir TarasenkoSt. Louis Blues

One-timer passer: Jaromir JagrFlorida PanthersMatt DucheneColorado Avalanche

Mini-net passer: Evgeny KuznetsovWashington CapitalsJamie BennDallas Stars

Puck Control relay: Kris LetangPittsburgh PenguinsRoman JosiNashville Predators

Stick handling: Dylan LarkinDetroit Red WingsTyler SeguinDallas Stars

Goalie Goals: Ben BishopTampa Bay LightningDevan DubnykMinnesota Wild

Hardest Shot

Four shooters from each team will test their slap shot skill in a head-to-head match-up. Each player will attempt two shots, with teams alternating after each player. One puck will be placed 30 feet from the center of the net. Each shot will be calculated in miles per hour (mph), with the highest speed of their two shots recorded.

Points Available: 5 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the player who has the fastest speed scores one bonus point.

Aaron EkbladFlorida PanthersEvgeni MalkinPittsburgh PenguinsSteven StamkosTampa Bay LightningP.K. SubbanMontreal CanadiensDustin ByfuglienWinnipeg JetsTyler SeguinDallas Stars;John ScottShea WeberNashville Predators


Eighteen skaters and three goaltenders from each team will participate in the three-round shootout. During each two-minute round, six skaters and one goalie from each team will take the ice. Teams will alternate after each shot with each player having a maximum of 10 seconds to take a shot. Players one and three from each team will be designated Discover puck players, each goal scored by these players will count as two points. NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt.

Points Available: 1 point for every goal scored; 2 points for every goal scored with a Discover puck.

Shootout Round 1: Evgeni MalkinPittsburgh PenguinsJaromir JagrFlorida PanthersP.K. Subban,Montreal CanadiensRyan O'ReillyBuffalo SabresLeo KomarovToronto Maple LeafsAaron Ekblad,Florida PanthersRoberto LuongoFlorida PanthersPatrick KaneChicago BlackhawksMatt Duchene,Colorado AvalancheBrent BurnsSan Jose SharksMark GiordanoCalgary FlamesVladimir Tarasenko,St. Louis BluesDaniel SedinVancouver CanucksDevan DubnykMinnesota Wild

Shootout Round 2: Patrice BergeronBoston BruinsNicklas BackstromWashington CapitalsSteven StamkosTampa Bay LightningEvgeny KuznetsovWashington CapitalsRyan McDonaghNew York RangersJustin FaulkCarolina HurricanesBraden HoltbyWashington CapitalsJoe PavelskiSan Jose SharksTaylor HallEdmonton OilersJamie BennDallas StarsJames NealNashville PredatorsJohnny GaudreauCalgary FlamesDustin ByfuglienWinnipeg JetsJohn GibsonAnaheim Ducks

Shootout Round 3: Claude GirouxPhiladelphia FlyersDylan LarkinDetroit Red WingsJohn Tavares,New York IslandersKris LetangPittsburgh PenguinsErik KarlssonOttawa SenatorsBrandon Saad,Columbus Blue JacketsCory SchneiderNew Jersey DevilsJohn ScottShea WeberNashville Predators;Tyler SeguinDallas StarsCorey PerryAnaheim DucksDrew DoughtyLos Angeles KingsRoman Josi,Nashville PredatorsPekka RinneNashville Predators

MORE CAPITALS: How many wins can Holtby finish with this season?

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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.