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Capitals stock watch: Caps regulars return to action against the Blues

Capitals stock watch: Caps regulars return to action against the Blues

The Caps earned their second win of the preseason on Monday with a 2-1 shootout win over St. Louis. It was the strongest lineup the Caps have featured yet this preseason.

3 players who impressed

Paul Carey: Hardwork is often rewarded in games and that was the case on Monday for Paul Carey. Carey was the Caps' lone goal-scorer in the team's 2-1 shootout win against the St. Louis Blues as he deflected a shot from Zach Sill over the shoulder of Blues goalie Carter Hutton. The goal reflected the type of camp Carey is having. Often overshadowed by the Caps' young prospects, the 28-year-old Carey has been very impressive in the preseason and he is leaving an impression on the coaching staff.

"He's had a really good camp," Trotz said. "Skating really well, he's producing, he's a very detailed player. He's had a good camp from before I was here and then since I've been here I thought he's been very effective in both games so that's good on him. ... He's making a statement in camp for sure."

Alex Ovechkin: When it comes to the preseason, some of the NHL regulars aren't putting in a full effort. They mail it in. It happens. When it comes to Alex Ovechkin, however, there's no such thing as half-speed. At least offensively. Ovechkin attempted a whopping 17 shots Monday in his preseason debut. Read that again: 17. Just as impressive is the fact that 10 of those shots were on net. Two of his shots missed their mark and another five were blocked. That's a full day's worth of work from one of the best players in the NHL.

Braden Holtby: Remember all that talk about whether Braden Holtby would be rusty after not playing in the World Cup? Yeah, not so much. In two preseason games he has turned aside 37 of the 39 shots he has faced. Though he said after the game there were things he still needs to work on, Holtby looks ready for the start of the regular season.

You can read more on Holtby's performance here.

3 players who need to show improvement

Taylor Chorney: It was a rough game for Taylor Chorney. Whenever he was on the ice, the play noticeably shifted into the Caps' end of the ice as the Blues began to exert control. He also whiffed completely on the Dmitrij Jaskin goal. As Jaskin tried to corral the puck behind the defense, Chorney had a chance to break up the play, but he overskated allowing Jaskin to easily carry the puck around him and put it into the back of the net. You have to take the body or take the puck, you can't miss both.

Zach Sanford: Barry Trotz was extremely complimentary of Sanford's play after the game, but clearly he is still adjusting with the switch from center to wing. Playing on the second line, Sanford had zero shot attempts through the first two periods. He seemed more hesitant than he had looked at any point in camp. Sanford made the move from center to wing and clearly he is still working through the transition. Still, Trotz had high praise for the young prospect.

"He made a number of Joel Ward type plays off the wall," Trotz said. "His puck poise in the small space and along the wall, I thought it was exceptional for just moving him over [to wing]."

The potential is there, he just needs more time to adjust to the new role.

Dmitry Orlov: Like Sanford, Dmitry Orlov is trying to adjust to his new growing role with the team. Part of that role will adjusting to playing on the penalty kill. Orlov played 2:37 shorthanded. He wasn't terrible, but it was clear that part of his game was still a work in progress. But Trotz likes Orlov's potential in that role.

"We want orly to grow," Trotz said. "We'll probably weigh that out where we want most of his growth to be in so he can focus in on one or two areas there and then it'll grow as he keeps maturing as a player. He's got great instincts, he's got real quick feet, he's got a good stick, quick stick and he's fearless when it comes to blocking shots and stuff like that. All those things said, yeah I could see him on the penalty kill."

One problem Orlov has last season was that his major mistakes always seemed to come at the most inopportune times. That happened again on Monday as Orlov was whistled for interference late in the third in a tie game. He's got to cut down on those mistakes if he wants to become a dependable, top-four defenseman.

MORE CAPITALS: Instant: Capitals top Blues in preseason shootout

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

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

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

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

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

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

Forwards
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

Defensemen
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

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

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).

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS OPEN THREAD

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

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!