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Caps earn shootout win after late game-tying goal from Carey


Caps earn shootout win after late game-tying goal from Carey

NEWARK, N.J. -- Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 3-2 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center.

How it happened: Alex Ovechkin netted the game-winner in the shootout, but it was Paul Carey who received all the post-game high fives after his first NHL goal tied the game with 5:53 remaining in regulation off a Matt Niskanen redirect.

As the trailing forward on a 2-on-2 rush, Adam Henrique snapped a 1-1 tie with 7:47 gone in the third period, snapping a shot past Braden Holtbny’s blocker to complete a two-goal comeback for the Devils. After a scoreless first period, Andre Burakovsky gave the Caps the lead 12:30 into the second period with his 10th goal of the season. Evgeny Kuznetsov set up the goal with another crafty drop pass from behind the goal line. Justin Williams rifled a shot toward the net that appeared to hit Burakovsky on the way in. For Kuznetsov it was his team-high 37th assist and for Williams, his 19th.

A Mike Richards tripping  penalty on Tyler Kennedy 1:34 into the third period opened the door for the Devils to tie the score 17 seconds later on Joseph Blandisi’s third goal of the season. Holtby allowed Travis Zajac’s shot from the slot trickle between his pads and Blandisi beat John Carlson to the loose puck, ramming it across the goal line.  The Devils went ahead 2-1 when Adam Henrique scored off the rush with 7:47 gone in the third, but Carey knotted it up and got a hero’s welcome at the bench.

The Caps killed off a Justin Williams tripping penalty that spilled into overtime and T.J. Oshie and Ovechkin scored in the shootout.

RELATED: Goalies take the faceoff in New Jersey

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Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs


Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs

Andre Burakovsky will be sidelined for the remainder of Washington's first-round series vs. Columbus, but he isn’t necessarily out for the remainder of the playoffs, Coach Barry Trotz said on Friday.

Burakovsky suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury in Game 2 and has not been on the ice since.

Trotz said the 23-year-old top-six winger needs “minor” surgery.

That procedure, however, will not preclude Burakovsky from returning to the Caps’ lineup in subsequent rounds, should Washington advance.

“That's why I said minor surgery,” Trotz added, asked if Burky might return at a later date.

This latest surgery is the second for Burakovsky this season. In late October, he had a procedure to repair a broken left thumb and missed the next 20 games.

Since his departure in Game 2, Jakub Vrana and Chandler Stephenson have taken turns replacing Burakovsky on the second line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.


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Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

There's a saying in sports that goes, "A series doesn't start until a team loses at home." For the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets, their series won't start until someone wins at home.

Four games into the series, the road team has won every game. Columbus took Game 1 and Game 2 from Capital One Arena and the Caps answered back by winning Game 3 and Game 4 in Ohio.

"We came [to Columbus] to try to get the first one," Barry Trotz said after Thursday's win. "Did that. We came here to get the second one. Did that. All we've done is just got on even terms."

Now the series is a best of three with two of those final three games in Washington, but how much of an advantage does that really give the Caps?

"We've got to make sure that we're ready to go," Trotz said. "I think we have been since we got here. We've just got to do it at home."

The various playoff struggles the Caps have suffered in the Alex Ovechkin era have been well-documented to this point. One particularly maddening issue is the team's struggles to win at home. Since 2008, the first year the Ovechkin-led Caps made the playoffs, the team is just 28-25 in home playoff games. Since 2015, Trotz's first season as head coach, the Caps are 12-10 in Washington.

Part of that is just the nature of hockey. Upsets are prevalent in the playoffs in the NHL and home-ice advantage does not mean as much as it does in other sports. But it should mean more than 28-25.

Besides having the crowd on your side, home ice also provides matchup advantages. The home team gets the second line change at home, meaning during a stoppage in play the home coach gets the opportunity to see who the opponent puts on the ice before making his own change. For the Caps, this means getting Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen on the ice against Artemi Panarin.

Trotz has matched his top shutdown pair against Columbus' top line all series long. According to Natural Stat Trick, when Niskanen was on the ice in Game 4 he held Panarin's Corsi For percentage to 36.36. When Niskanen was not on the ice, Panarin's percentage shot up to 71.43. 

Theoretically, it should be much easier for Trotz to get those favorable matchups at home. Now all the Caps have to do is take advantage.

"Our home record hasn't been really great in the last little stretch at the end of the season here and obviously the first two games of the playoffs," Trotz said. "We owe it to our fans, we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of that."