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Caps fall in Game 7

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Caps fall in Game 7

NEW YORK -- It may be fitting the Capitals season ended in the city that never sleeps.

Because after Saturday nights 2-1 loss to the Rangers in Madison Square Garden there will be plenty of sleepless nights wondering what might have been.

Henrik Lundqvist evoked haunting memories of Jaroslav Halak and made goals by Brad Richards and Michal Del Zotto stand up as the Capitals saw their promising playoff run come to a screeching halt on the corner of 33rd Street and 8th Avenue.

The win sends the top-seeded Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1997. Theyll host the sixth-seeded Devils at MSG Monday night and attempt to become the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup after playing 14 games in Rounds 1 and 2.

The loss sends the Capitals into another summer wrought with questions.

Will Dale Hunter answer the pleas of his players and return as head coach?

Will general manager George McPhee decide to keep unrestricted free agents Alex Semin and Dennis Wideman? Will he even entertain the idea of trading Alex Ovechkin for Rick Nash?

Those are questions that will be addressed soon enough. But when the Caps look back on their playoff series loss to the Rangers, they will most remember blowing a one-goal lead with 6.6 seconds remaining in Game 5, then losing it in overtime.

The Rangers carried a 1-0 lead into the third period and when Del Zotto knocked Ovechkin off the puck then beat him down the ice to score his second goal of the playoffs with 9:55 remaining in regulation it appeared all hope was lost.

But just 38 seconds later Roman Hamrlik floated a shot through a Troy Brouwer screen and over Lundqvists right shoudler to breathe life into the Capitals.

The Caps had a chance to tie the score when Ruslan Fedotenko took a delay of game penalty, but nearly allowed a shorthanded goal. And when Nicklas Backstrom was slapped with a slashing penalty with 7:03 to play, the Rangers gained the momentum and
never let go.

In fact, the Caps couldnt pull Braden Holtby until 1 minute remained in the game.

After two days of talking about the importance of scoring first the Rangers wasted no time doing it.

Richards did the honors just 92 seconds into the contest when he ripped a 30-footer past a screened Braden Holtby for his sixth goal of the playoffs and a 1-0 lead.

Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto started the play with a long stretch pass to Carl Hagelin, who fed Richards at the top of the left circle. With Marian Gaborik charging the net and tying up Capitals defenseman John Carlson in front, Richards hammered a shot under the catching glove of Holtby.

The team that had scored first had won every game in the series, but with 58 minutes, 28 seconds of regulation still remaining, the Caps figured they had plenty of time to mount a charge. And in the second period they did.

The Caps outshot the Rangers 12-11 in the second frame but had a distinct advantage in scoring chances.

Henrik Lundqvist was the difference. The Hart Trophy and Vezina Trophy finalist was brilliant, losing his stick while stopping Alex Semin on a backhander; kicking out his right pad to stop Mike Knuble at the side of the net; and getting his right leg on a shot by Troy Brouwer from in close.

The Caps pinned the Rangers in their own zone for long stretches in the second period, but had seven shots blocked by the Rangers in the period and entered the final period trailing for the first time in 14 playoff games.

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Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.

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