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Caps need boost from power play


Caps need boost from power play

When all is said and done, what will be the difference in the second-round tug-of-war between the Capitals and Rangers?

Special teams, Brooks Laich said matter-of-factly. It always comes down to that.

Through the first three games of the series the Capitals are 1-for-10 on the power play. The Rangers have gone 2-for-11.

The Caps have been going with a top unit of Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman at the points and Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johanssson and Troy Brouwer up front. Wideman said the key is getting pucks through the Rangers shot-blocking forwards Ryan Callahan, Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust and Derek Stepan.

Theyre the best shot-blocking team in the league, Wideman said. Their forwards do a great job of getting in that shooting lane and timing it well. You might think you have a lane and all of a sudden they slide in front at the perfect time. Weve got to get around that by faking shots, get them down and move it to the open guy.

Mike Green, whos been quarterbacking a second unit with John Carlson, Brooks Laich, Alexander Semin and Keith Aucoin, says the best way to find those lanes is by moving quickly in the offensive zone.

We stand still a little too much, he said. If we can walk across the blue line and get these guys moving there will be some lanes to shoot.

Wideman said hes not entirely disappointed in the puck movement of the Capitals power play, just its lack of production.

I thought we moved it around well last game, but there were times when the puck just bounced the wrong way, Wideman said. I had a shot fall right onto Ovis stick and he didnt see it and Dan Girardi just got his stick in there to poke it away.

Capitals coach Dale Hunter does not appear ready to make any changes to either of the two units, saying hard work is the answer to most power play shortcomings.

You always want to score, he said. We had some good chances on it. We need to get more pucks and more traffic to the net. Their penalty killers are working hard, so youve got to match their work ethic. Weve got to outwork them on the power plays to get scoring chances.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars


3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


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Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history


Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Alex Ovechkin further cemented his place in NHL history, John Carlson stayed hot and Braden Holtby was good when called upon as the Caps down the Stars, 4-3, at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.

The victory was Washington’s fifth in the past six games. It also marked the Caps’ first win over Dallas in D.C. since 2006.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovi scored his 44th goal of the season and the 602nd of his career in the second period to give the Caps a short-lived 3-2 edge in the second period. The goal put Ovi back atop the league as he seeks a seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. It also pushed him past Jari Karri and into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin has now victimized Kari Lehtonen 22 times, which is tied for the most goals he’s scored against a single netminder. (Henrik Lundqvist has also given up 22 goals to No. 8). Ovi also had a couple of secondary helpers.

2-John Carlson, Capitals

Carlson scored the game-winner 4:59 with left to play, blasting a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Caps ahead 4-3. Carlson also notched an assist, which allowed him to stay even with Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg also had a goal and an assist. Both players ended the game with 61 points—tied for the most among all NHL defensemen.    

3-Alexander Radulov, Stars

From his first shift, it was apparent that Radulov was determined to leave his mark on the game. And he did just that, recording a goal, an assist and boarding minor that bloodied Caps defenseman Michal Kempny. Radulov’s goal—a redirection of a John Klingberg shot—was his 26th and it evened the score, 2-2, in the second period.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.