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Caps look to stick to their own style Sunday against Rangers


Caps look to stick to their own style Sunday against Rangers

Off to their best start in franchise history, the Capitals have not struggled against many teams this season. In 31 games, the Caps have only lost six in regulation and only three of those games by more than two goals.

On Sunday the Caps will get a chance to avenge one of those losses as they take on the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden.

The Caps fell 5-2 to the Rangers in the first matchup of the season against the defending Metropolitan champs on Nov. 3. As the team prepares for the rematch, there's one thing they know they must do differently if they hope to win.

"I thought that was one of our worse games of the year actually," Braden Holtby said. "We let their strengths overpower ours in that game. They got a lot of off the rush chances which is what they thrive on."

"Their game's different than ours," Karl Alzner said. "A lot of times we get trapped into playing a little run and gun and trying to make some long-bomb passes like they do and that's not us."

RELATED: Trotz sends strong message to team by pulling Holtby

Rather than playing the style of game which has brought them so much success already this season, the Caps allowed the Rangers to dictate they style of play and soon found themselves in a track meet with a team that thrives on quick rushes and counter attacks.

"You get all these scoring chances and [Henrik] Lundqvist makes a bunch of saves and they flip a puck out and they race it down and they score," head coach Barry Trotz said. "They capitalize on chances. ... It's not going to be necessarily what you get on the Rangers, it's what you leave against the Rangers that really hurts you."

One major difference in Sunday's game compared to the first matchup will be the confidence level of both teams. On Nov. 3, the Caps were facing the team that eliminated them from the playoffs the previous year and that had won four of its last five games. Now the Rangers are reeling with 10 losses in their last 13 games while Washington owns the second best record in the NHL.

But that doesn't mean the Caps are going to take them lightly.

"They're a good hockey team," Trotz said. "We know that. If you're going to get through this division then you're probably at some point going to go through the Rangers which we've seen many times as Capitals."

With the season not even half over yet, we are a long way away from determining division supremacy. For many of the players, Sunday's motivation is much simpler than that.

"Motivation for us is just wanting to beat the Rangers," Alzner said. "They're one of the teams that specifically we would like to beat every time we play them and it hasn't worked out great for us in the past so we need a bounce back."

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin 'tweaks' something, leaves practice early

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.


The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30


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

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

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


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.


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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Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

USA TODAY Sports Images

Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  -- The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey -- finally -- is over.

Even though they needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it.

Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout to start the Americans piling over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice.

Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation.

Hilary Knight also had a goal.


Maddie Rooney made 29 saves for the win against their archrival. The 20-year-old goalie stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.

It was sweet redemption for the 10 Americans who watched the Canadians snatch gold from their hands in 2014 at Sochi after tying it up with 54.6 seconds left in regulation and winning 3-2 in overtime.

Not only did the Americans snap the Canadians' stranglehold on Olympic gold, they ended a skid of five straight against their rival coming into this game, including a 2-1 loss to wrap up pool play a week ago.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Haley Irwin each scored goals for Canada. Agosta and Melodie Daoust scored in the shootout.

The Americans had been dominating in non-Olympic years, winning the last four and eight of the last 10 world championships, including a 3-2 overtime victory over Canada last spring.

Their domination on the world stage only made the lack of gold at the Olympics all the more noticeable, and Canada has been in their way since losing the inaugural gold in Nagano. Canada had won 24 straight Olympic games to go along with four consecutive gold medals. It's a streak of success in a women's team sport second only to the United States' basketball team's current streak of six straight gold.

This was the eighth time these North American rivals met in the Olympics and the fifth with gold on the line. None of the previous seven were decided by more than two goals.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber went with the 20-year-old Rooney in net for the biggest game of her career, but she was the goalie for each of the three games the Americans beat Canada last fall during their pre-Olympic exhibition tour, including Four Nations Cup title in November.

Canada had Shannon Szabados, 31, in goal for her third Olympic gold medal game, and her teammates made her job very easy by keeping the puck in front of Rooney for most of the first period by dictating play. The Americans couldn't use their speed or get organized even with two power plays until Sarah Nurse went in the box for interference late in the period.

Knight gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 25.4 seconds left in the first, redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin through Szabados' pads giving the Americans a jolt of energy.

That lasted only 2 minutes into the second when Irwin tipped a pass from Blayre Turnbull over Rooney's left leg for Canada. When Morin lost the puck, Melodie Daoust grabbed it and passed to Meghan Agosta who hit Poulin for the wrister into the left side of the net at 6:55 for a 2-1 lead.