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Caps pushed to the edge with Game 4 loss despite no Sidney Crosby

Caps pushed to the edge with Game 4 loss despite no Sidney Crosby

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 3

How it happened: In a game without Sidney Crosby that the Caps desperately needed to win, it was Pittsburgh who struck first as Patric Hornqvist thread the needle between Brooks Orpik and Karl Alzner for the breakaway goal. In the second period, a centering feed from Jake Guentzel hit off the skate of Dmitry Orlov into the net. The Caps would respond, however, with goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nate Schmidt, but Justin Schultz would put the Penguins back in the lead about three minutes later with a power play goal. Washington had a chance to tie it up as Matt Cullen took a double minor for high-sticking late in the second period. The Caps were unable to cash in on the power play or in the third period, however, ultimately falling to Pittsburgh 3-2.

What it means: Even without Sidney Crosby, the Penguins pushed the Caps to the brink of elimination and now lead the series 3-1. Washington must win the next three games straight in order to advance.


Penguins goal: Patric Hornqvist from Matt Cullen and Olli Maatta at 4:39 in the 1st period. With Karl Alzner and Brooks Orpik on the ice together, Hornqvist took advantage. He played in between the two and Maatta thread the needle with the pass to launch the breakaway which Hornqvist was able to finish. Caps 0, Penguins 1

Penguins goal: Jake Guentzel at 3:51 in the 2nd period. Guentzel chased down the puck in the offensive zone to Braden Holtby’s right and tried a centering pass to Carter Rowney. The puck instead hit off the boot of Dmitry Orlov and into the net.  Caps 0, Penguins 2

Caps goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson at 7:21 in the 2nd period. Johansson and Williams did good work along the boards in the offensive zone allowing Williams to pass to a streaking Kuznetsov with room to work. Kuznetsov finished the play with a short-side shot to beat Fleury. Caps 1, Penguins 2

Caps goal: Nate Schmidt from T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk at 8:33 in the 2nd period. A Penguins turnover led to an attack by the Capitals. A shot by Kevin Shattenkirk was blocked, bounced off the wall and out to Schmidt who fired the quick one-timer for the goal. Caps 2, Penguins 2

Penguins goal: Justin Schultz (power play) from Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin at 11:24 in the 2nd period. The Penguins dominated possession off the faceoff in the Caps' defensive zone, A shot from Malkin was blocked, but kicked back out by Guentzel to Malkin. He fed Schultz for the one-timer and he buried it. Caps 2, Penguins 3

3 Caps stars

1. Evgeny Kuznetsov: There were a few frustrating moments that made you want to scream "SHOOT THE PUCK!" but when he did finally shoot the puck, he scored the Caps' first goal of the night. He had a game-high six shots on goal for the game.

2. Jay Beagle: The Caps did not look ready to play this game and took two penalties in the first period. Luckily, Beagle was ready to play. He looked like a one-man penalty kill out there and kept Pittsburgh from turning a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 lead.

3. Nate Schmidt: Schmidt has played a strong series and finally was rewarded with a goal in the second period which, at the time, tied the game at 2.

Look ahead: The series comes back to Washington on Saturday for Game 5 and then, if necessary, returns to Pittsburgh for Game 6 on Monday.

Watch the game? Tell us what you thought!

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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 downed 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

Ovechkin 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 had two assists. 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.