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Capitals will be well-represented at NHL Awards

Capitals will be well-represented at NHL Awards

After having one of their best regular seasons in franchise history, the Capitals will be well-represented at the NHL Awards extravaganza in Las Vegas on June 22.

On Wednesday, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan became the fourth member of the Caps’ organization to be named a finalist for a post-season award when he was voted into the top three candidates for General Manager of the Year.

Other members of the Capitals organization up for post-season awards are Barry Trotz (Jack Adams - Coach of the Year), Alex Ovechkin (Mark Messier - Leadership Award) and Braden Holtby (Vezina - top goalie; Ted Lindsay - top player as voted by players). Ovechkin will also pick up his sixth Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer.

It is worth noting that the General Manager of the Year Award is voted on by the NHL’s 30 general managers and a panel of NHL executives and media members at the conclusion of the second round of the playoffs.

In addition to MacLellan, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford and Stars GM Jim Nill are up for the award. All three are first-time finalists for the award.

In his second season as GM after taking over for George McPhee, MacLellan acquired right wings T.J. Oshie (trade) and Justin Williams (free agency) last summer, then added center Mike Richards (free agency), left wing Daniel Winnik (trade) and defenseman Mike Weber (trade) during the season, helping the Caps finish with the NHL’s best record (56-18-8, 120 points).

The Capitals’ 56 victories set a franchise record and made them just the 10th team in league history to collect as many wins in one season – the first to do so since the 2005-06 Detroit Red Wings (58). Their 120 points fell one shy of the team high set in 2009-10 (121). The Capitals ranked second in both team offense (3.02 goals/GP) and defense (2.33 GA/GP) in 2015-16.

As it turned out, Rutherford’s Penguins were one goal better than the Caps in the second round of the playoffs. Rutherford, also in his second year in Pittsburgh, retooled the Pens roster by acquiring forwards Phil Kessel, Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen, Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr and forward Trevor Daley. But his biggest move might have been replacing coach Mike Johnston with Mike Sullivan on Dec. 12.

The Pens went 33-16-5 under Sullivan, including a 14-2-0 run to end the regular season to finish second in the Eastern Conference with a 48-26-8 record and 104 points.

Nill is in his third season as GM of the Stars, who have reached the playoffs twice after missing the post-season five straight years before Sill’s arrival.

Sill put the Stars in the right direction by hiring head coach Lindy Ruff, then bolstered the Stars lineup by adding forward Patrick Sharp, defenseman Johnny Oduya and goaltender Antti Niemi. As a result the Stars finished with a 50-23-9 record and 109 points. Like the Caps, the Stars were bounced in the second round of the playoffs.

Here is a look at all of the 2016 NHL Award finalists. (Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane captured his first career Art Ross Trophy as the league’s scoring champion, Ovechkin claimed his sixth career Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s goal-scoring leader, and the Ducks tandem of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson earned the William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders who play at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals):

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey)
Pascal Dupuis, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jaromir Jagr, Florida Panthers
Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers

Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie)
Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks

Frank J. Selke Trophy (top defensive forward)
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player to his team)
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Jack Adams Award (top head coach)
Gerard Gallant, Florida Panthers
Lindy Ruff, Dallas Stars
Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals

James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenseman)
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (player best combining sportsmanship and ability)
Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
John Tavares, New York Islanders
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

NHL Foundation Player Award (community service)
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Matt Martin, New York Islanders
P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens

NHL General Manager of the Year Award
Brian MacLellan, Washington Capitals
Jim Nill, Dallas Stars
Jim Rutherford, Pittsburgh Penguins

Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the players)
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

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NHL Power Rankings: A rough week

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: A rough week

The Caps are coming off of one of, if not the worst week of their season. Washington has now lost three of four games and all three of those losses came in devastating fashion.

On Feb. 11, the Caps hosted a scuffling Detroit Red Wings team and saw the Wings build a 4-1 lead in the second period, a period in which the Caps were outshot 17-2. Washington battled back to tie the game, but ultimately lost in overtime. Tuesday in Winnipeg the Caps held a 3-1 lead in the third period, but allowed the Jets to mount a comeback and tie the game with just 15 seconds remaining in regulation before losing in overtime. Then, of course, there was Saturday's 7-1 blowout at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that had lost eight straight coming into that game.

SEE THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

To make matters worse, the Pittsburgh Penguins keep on winning and now hold a one-point lead over Washington. So yeah, things were not great.

The bad news is that, with the recent surges of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and even New Jersey, the Caps have to figure things out fast or they could continue to fall in the standings fairly quickly.

The good news is that they still remain in a relatively good position should they rebound. The Penguins do hold a one-point lead in the standings, but the Caps remain very much in the driver's seat of the division with three games in hand.

Four games separate Washington from the Feb. 26 trade deadline. The Caps will play in Buffalo, host Tampa Bay, play in Florida and host Buffalo. Winning three of those four games, especially if they can beat the dominant Lightning, will go a long way towards putting last week in the rearview mirror. Another tough week, however, could force the hand of general manager Brian MacLellan to make an unanticipated move at the trade deadline in order to keep a playoff season from falling apart.

After a week like that, it's no surprise to see Washington fall in this week's NHL Power Rankings. You can see the full rankings here.

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Game 59: Capitals at Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 59: Capitals at Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, N.Y.

When: 3:00 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.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (33-18-7) take on the Sabres (17-31-11) Monday, February 19 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Buffalo.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 7:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals at Sabres
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
7:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

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

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

Forwards
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

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Sabres 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-SABRES 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.