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Caps could contend for many of NHL's individual awards

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Caps could contend for many of NHL's individual awards

Throughout this week, while the rest of the NHL gets into game action and the Capitals impatiently await Saturday’s season opener against the New Jersey Devils, we’ll take a look at how we think the Eastern and Western Conference standings will shake out and which team will sip from the Stanley Cup next June.

But first …

Here are predicted award winners:

Hart Trophy (MVP): Alex Ovechkin

Ten years after their NHL baptisms, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are still very much in their primes and both will benefit from new additions on their right side, Ovechkin witrh T.J. Oshie and Crosnbby with Phil Kessel. Ovechkin’s commitment to a two-way game last season will continue this year, earning him the swing votes he needs to beast out Crosby.

Runnersup: Crosby, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos

Art Ross Trophy (scoring champion): Sidney Crosby

With Chris Kunitz on his left and Kessel on his right, there will be some serious fireworks  coming from the Penguins’ top line this season and Crosby will reap the benefits.

Runnersup: Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos

Rocket Richard Trophy (goals leader): Alex Ovechkin

The arrival of T.J. Oshie will attract attention from opposing defenses, opening up more space for Ovechkin in his pursuit of 500 goals and his sixth goal-scoring title. A healthy Steven Stamkos will make this an interesting race that could go down to the final weekend.

Runnersup: Stamkos, Phil Kessel, Vladimir Tarasenko

Norris Trophy (top defenseman): Drew Doughty

Erik Karlsson will attract a lot of attention with his offense, but Doughty has been a rock on the Kings’ blue line and his ability to guide L.A. back into the playoffs will sway voters. Don’t be surprised, however, if someone named John Carlson makes a strong push for the award.

Runnersup: John Carlson, Erik Karlsson, P.K. Subban

Vezina Trophy (top goaltender): Braden Holtby

It’s hard to top what Carey Price accomplished last season, when he led the NHL in goals-against average  (1.96) and save percentage (93.3), especially in a new era of 3-on-3 overtimes, where goalie statistics will be fattened. But Holtby garnered a good deal of respect and attention last season and will cement his reputation as a No. 1 netminder on a Cup contender.

Runnersup: Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne

Calder Trophy (top rookie): Jack Eichel

Not since Crosby and Ovechkin has so much hype surrounded two NHL rookies entering the same season. Connor McDavid is an enormous talent but he’s also carrying the enormous weight of playing in Edmonton, where Wayne Gretzky cut his teeth. Eichel, on the other hand, has more talent around him and should put up more points than McDavid. That, and a strong contingent of American voters, should help his cause.

Runnersup: McDavid, Max Domi, Sam Bennett

Breakout player: Evgeny Kuznetsov

Very few players in the league possess the offensive skills of Kuznetsov, who improved throughout last season and finished with 11 goals and 26 assists. While it would be a stretch to suggest Kuznetsov could double those totals, he’s due for an offensive explosion that will also make Andre Burakovsky’s numbers dramatically improve.

Runnersup: Burakovsky, Jonathan Drouin, Kevin Hayes

Jack Adams Award (top coach): Barry Trotz

Mike Babcock will change the culture in Toronto and Jeff Blashill should be an excellent replacement in Detroit, but Trotz will finally see the results of his strong coaching fundamentals and handling of star players.  

Runnersup: Mike Babcock, Jeff Blashill, Todd Richards

MORE CAPITALS: Looking back on 10 years of Alex Ovechkin in D.C.

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

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.

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 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

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
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

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

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.

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.

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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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.