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Capitals talk record season, what lies ahead


Capitals talk record season, what lies ahead

News, notes and quotes as we take a step back from one of the most successful regular seasons in the Capitals’ 42-year history:

Holtby cool with sitting: Hockey historians may have wanted Braden Holtby to get a shot at NHL history by playing in the Caps’ final game of the regular season on Sunday after facving just 20 shots in a 5-1 win Saturday night in St. Louis, but Holtby didn’t make much noise over it, saying he never tried to talk his way into playing.

“No, I leave that up to the coaches,” Holtby said after watching backup Philipp Grubauer take a 2-0 loss to the Blues. “That’s not my job to decide.”

Holtby had his moment in the sun the night before when he tied Martin Brodeur’s NHL record of 48 victories, set in 2006-07. Brodeur, the assistant general manager in St. Louis, personally congratulated Holtby after the game.

“It was obviously an honor to meet him,” Holtby said. “I had never officially met him before so it was pretty cool he was there. The guys (teammates) obviously were pretty excited. We shared it together and it was fun. We got it out of the way and now we can focus on what we’re trying to accomplish.”

With 48 wins in 68 starts, Holtby finished with the highest single-season winning percentage (72.7 percent) of any goalie in NHL history with 60 or more starts. Tom Barrasso held the previous record, winning 69.4 percent of his starts (43 wins in 62 starts) in 1992-93 with the Penguins.

No Jennings:  With their 2-0 loss to the Blues the Caps lost their hold on the Jennings Trophy, awarded annually to the goaltenders whose team finishes with the fewest goals against. Thanks to Holtby (48-9-7, 2.20 GAA, .922 SP) and Grubauer (8-9-1, 2.32, .918) the Caps allowed an average of 2.33 goals per game (191 goals allowed), second behind the Anaheim Ducks, who won the Jennings with a 2.29 goals allowed average (188 goals allowed).

Holtby said it was “unfortunate” to see Grubauer finish with a losing record “because he put in solid efforts all year.”

RELATED: After loss to Ducks, Capitals turn their sights toward Philly

82-game club: Seven Capitals – defensemen Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and forwards Justin Williams, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson – played in all 82 games this season.

Eighty-five NHL players accomplished the feat, but no team had more players play in every game. The closest to the Capitals were the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild with five players each. Two Islanders (Frans Nielsen and Nicky Leddy) were healthy scratches in the Isles’ season-ending loss to the Flyers, which guaranteed a first-round playoff date with the Florida Panthers instead of the Pittsburgh Penguins

“What it says to me is you’re managing your game right as professional athletes,” Caps coach Barery Trotz said. “From a coaching and training standpoint you’re happy about that because you feel like you’re getting the right work and rest ratio, and you’ve got to be a little bit lucky. We’ve got some durable guys, which is good.”

Rocket man: Alex Ovechkin (50 goals) won his sixth Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer. Only Bobby Hull (seven) has led the NHL in goals more times than Ovechkin. Ovechkin also hit the 50-goal mark for the seventh time in his 11-year NHL career.

Record year: The Capitals (120 points) established a franchise record with 56 wins, two more than the 2009-10 team that finished with 54 wins and 121 points.

The Caps were 29-8-4 at home this season, one win shy of the franchise record for home victories (30, set in 1085-86 and matched in 2009-10).

The Caps finished 22-7-1 in back-to-back games this season and became the first team since the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens to go an entire season without back-to-back regulation losses.  

Enemy eyes: The Flyers had three pro scouts in attendance for Sunday night’s Capitals game, but saw no new wrinkles, especially with scattered forward lines and defense pairings.

“I don’t think they got a whole lot from that game,” Trotz said wistfully. “Seriously.

“… What you find in Game 82 is everybody’s just trying to get through it.”

Looking forward, not back: Holtby said he’s not putting a whole lot of credence to the Capitals’ emotional 2-1 shootout loss to the Flyers back on March 30 in Philadelphia, a game he said the Capitals allowed the referees get into their heads.

“That game, we didn’t play exactly how we wanted to,” Holtby said. “They’re going to play tough. It didn’t really matter to us which team we played. Every team has strengths and weaknesses and it’s a matter of exposing weaknesses and sticking to your own strengths.

“It’ll be tough. It’ll be hard-fought. They have a physical group and a lot of skill. Realistically, it doesn’t matter what opponent we have. For us it’s focusing on what’s made us successful and that’ being the Capitals. There’s a lot of experience in this room. It’s a veteran group, a mature group. Everyone has had the same goal since Day One. It hasn’t been about the regular season; it’s about preparing for the playoffs. It’s a long grind and the key is taking one game at a time, simplifying everything and bringing your best effort out there.”

MORE CAPITALS: Williams 'honored and humbled' by pregame ceremony

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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


The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Sabres 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)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


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

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

Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


The Capitals-Panthers 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.

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.