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Caps' D Dmitry Orlov: 'If I do mistakes we can lose'

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Caps' D Dmitry Orlov: 'If I do mistakes we can lose'

Monday was an eventful day for Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov, one that started with the news he was a Masterton nominee by the Washington chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association and ended with being called out by his coach for a giveaway that led to a goal in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Today Capitals coach Barry Trotz and assistant coach Todd Reirden are faced with a difficult decision.

Do they put Orlov back into the lineup for Wednesday night’s game against the eighth-seeded Flyers, a team they would face in Round 1 if the playoffs started today?

Or, do they scratch Orlov for the first time this season after seeing him play 75 consecutive games following a season in which he sat out every game with a fractured left wrist?

Last week, Orlov spoke candidly about Trotz’s faith in him this season and the need for him to limit his mistakes if he hoped to remain in the Caps’ lineup.

“They show me my mistakes and tell me I can’t do these mistakes,” Orlov said. “During the games sometimes if I’m having a bad game I will sit on the bench because I’m not playing well and I understand this.

“I know I can’t do my mistakes because if I do mistakes we can lose. I always try to be hard on myself and try to do less mistakes and try to play simple. One pass to the forward and not hold the puck and do something bad. I understand I need to play simple every game and improve on my game.”

On Monday night, with the Caps holding a 1-0 lead late in the opening period, Orlov felt pressure in the defensive zone and tried lifting a backhander toward the middle of the ice instead of protecting the puck and sending it up the right wall. The puck was knocked out of the air by Rene Bourque and eventually found its way to Cam Atkinson for the game-tying goal.

Orlov had also coughed up the puck on the first goal against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night, avoiding a hit by David Backes behind the net to give Backes possession.

Trotz criticized Orlov for that play, but kept him in the lineup for Monday night’s game against the Blues. Asked about Orlov after the game Monday night Trotz said there are no guarantees he’ll be in the lineup Wednesday night.

Orlov, who leads all Caps defensemen with a career-high eight goals and is third among Caps blue liners with 28 points, said he needs to better understand when to make high-risk plays.

“Sometimes you need to make that risky play, but it’s all the time different,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t need to do it. You make a simple play.”

Despite his recent struggles, Orlov says he is grateful for the opportunity he has been given this season, especially after his ordeal last year.

During the 2014 World Championships, while representing his native Russia, Orlov suffered a fracture of his left wrist that required reconstructive surgery. Later that summer Orlov developed an infection, requiring a second surgery.

As a result, Orlov was unable to grip a hockey stick for several months and there were concerns within the Capitals organization that he may never be able to play at the NHL level. Orlov missed the entire 2014-15 and dedicated the entire season to strengthening the muscles in his hand and wrist.

Because of his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport of hockey, Orlov was nominated for the 2016 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Orlov said he now feels no ill effects from the surgery.  

“I’m trying to do what I always did,” Orlov said. “I think I’m back to where I was and I’m trying to build my game every day. Where I was at the start of the season to now is different. I expect to play every game and it’s huge for me that (Trotz) has that confidence. It’s good for me.”

[RELATED: Trotz calls out Orlov after win over Blue Jackets]

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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.