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Caps need secondary scoring against Rangers

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Caps need secondary scoring against Rangers

Through two games against the New York Rangers, the Capitals’ best players unquestionably have been their best players. As for the rest of the gang, not so much.

While the top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward has combined for three goals and three assists through two games and goaltender Braden Holtby has stopped 63 of 67 shots, the Capitals have just one even-strength goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov as they head into Game 3 tonight at VerizonCenter locked in a 1-1 series tie.

That means no production from their bottom six forwards and only one assist [by John Carlson] from their back end.

“I think if you’re going to be successful in the playoffs it’s not only going to be one line carrying you through the playoffs,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “You’re going to need individuals or lines step up. In our case, some nights we might not get anything from our top six forwards and we’re going to need to get them from our bottom six.”

That was certainly the case in the first round against the New York Islanders when right wing Jason Chimera and defenseman Karl Alzner each scored two goals and Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich added one apiece.

But the Caps’ third line of Troy Brouwer, Jay Beagle and Andre Burakovsky, a trio that combined to score 40 goals in the regular season, is still is looking for its first goal of the playoffs.

“I had a couple good looks, Burk had one or two and Beags had a couple, even going back to Game 7 of the Islanders series,” Brouwer said. “But we haven’t been able to score, which is not benefitting our team at all.”

Brouwer’s scoring funk extends into the regular season. He’s gone a total of 12 straight games without a goal and has found the back of the net just three times in his last 39 games.

“It’s hockey,” said Brouwer, whose 21 goals in the regular season were second on the Caps to Ovechkin’s 53. “I’ve gone through it a few times in my career and it’s no fun. I think we had this talk at the beginning of April. You just have to continue to be positive. You have to know that in the playoffs it doesn’t matter who scores, as long as somebody is.”

Brouwer and Beagle each has been stopped on 14 shots in the playoffs, while Burakovsky has failed on eight shot attempts.

“They’re a really good team and it’s not easy to get chances out there,” said Burakovsky, who has played in six playoff games. “If you don’t skate they’re going to catch you. I think we’ve had pretty good chances to score. We just need to get a puck in the net and we’ll be fine.”

Caps right wing Tom Wilson said he has not made the impact he’d like to make in this series. In two games he has three shots and seven hits and has taken a charging penalty.

“I think I can do a little more. Their defensemen are very aware of getting hit. They’re getting rid of the puck super quick and it’s tough to get on the forecheck. They’re almost looking at me and getting rid of the puck before I can even get close to hem. It’s a fast game and hopefully coming back home we can play our game with better dumps and better forechecks on their D.”

Trotz said there will be “subtle changes” to the way the Caps look in Game 3 and that could mean some tweaks to his forward line combinations.

“We’ll see if their game is the same here as it is in MadisonSquareGarden,” Trtoz said. “And we get last change, so there will be some changes.”

 [RELATED Caps return home to face NHL's best road team]

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Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Alex Ovechkin said the Caps would return to Washington with a tied series. The Caps captain is a man of his word as the Caps won both Game 3 and Game 4 to even up the series at two games apiece.

John Tortorella had no answers after seeing his Columbus Blue Jackets fall in Game 4, but he will have to figure things out quickly as the series shifts back to Washington for a pivotal Game 5.

The Caps return home with two straight wins and all the momentum. There's just one problem: No one seemingly can win at home.

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 5

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC.

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 on NBC Sports' live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 5 on Saturday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Washington. The series is tied 2-2.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME ON?

Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 5 will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Tune back to NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Blue Jackets on NBC
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 5 is available to stream live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly- Lars Eller - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Scratches: Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky (upper-body), Shane Gerisch, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS 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.

SEE THE CAPITALS VS. BLUE JACKETS FULL SERIES SCHEDULE HERE

CAPITALS SCHEDULE

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Now it's a series

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Now it's a series

The Caps looked to be in real trouble after blowing leads and losing in overtime in both Game 1 and Game 2.

After two straight wins, however, Washington is in control against the Columbus Blue Jackets as the series returns to Washington, D.C. for Game 5. 

On the latest eipisode of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast, JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir talk about what changed for the Capitals between Game 2 and 3, as well as resetting their series predictions.

And as always, they answer several viewer questions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page