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Caps score 6 unanswered goals to crush the Canes

Caps score 6 unanswered goals to crush the Canes

The Carolina Hurricanes struck first, but the Washington Capitals responded with six unanswered goals including two from Dmitry Orlov in a 6-1 win on Monday.

How it happened: Jordan Staal put Carolina up early with a power play goal, but it was all downhill from there for the Hurricanes. Dmitry Orlov took a slap shot that deflected off the stick of Staal and into the net to tie the game. The Caps were in the face of Carolina goalie Cam Ward the rest of the night and he struggled against the screen. A long-range wrister from Justin Williams found the back of the net thanks to a screen from Marcus Johansson and Orlov scored his second of the game in the second period with Lars Eller right in Ward's face. Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller all would tack onto the lead.

What it means: The Capitals extended their point streak to 14 games and earned their 12th win in 13 games. It is their first regulation win over Carolina in three games this season and improves their record within the Metropolitan Division to 9-5-5. The win also gives Washington a two-point lead over Columbus for the top of the division.

Hosting dads: The Caps just wrapped up their mentor’s trip, but there were still plenty of dads on hand as the Hurricanes brought theirs. This was the third time this season the Washington played host to another team’s dads’ trip. The other two teams were the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Caps are now 2-0-1 with the other team’s dads in attendance.

Rough start: Coming into Monday’s game, the Caps had scored first in 10 consecutive games, the last four of which came off the stick of Andre Burakovsky. That streak came to an end as Staal scored just 4:39 into the game. Washington responded nicely, however, as they led 2-1 at the end of the first period. When leading after the first, the Caps are now 21-2-3 this season.

Restoring power: Washington finished the game with one power play goal on two opportunities. The Caps have struggled on the power play for much of the season, but they seem to be turning things around. With Orlov's goal Monday, Washington now has at least one power play goal in five straight games and in eight of their last 11. The Caps have scored nine power play goals in the last eight games.

Hockey smile: If you play hockey long enough, you're bound to lose some teeth. Burakovsky nearly did on Monday. In the first period, Andre Burakovsky fell to the ice while skating with the puck. Defenseman Noah Hanifin tried to sweep check the puck, but his stick connected with the face of the falling Burakovsky. You can see the play here. He was later seen bleeding and handing a folded piece of gauze to the training staff so it was speculated that he had perhaps lost a tooth. He later told Al Koken that the grill was fine and he had just suffered a cut in the mouth.

Big guns: Washington's offense just keeps right on rolling. The Caps have now scored at least four goals in eight straight games. It is also the fourth time in the past six games Washington has scored at least six goals.

Until we meet again: Washington and Carolina will meet again on Tuesday, Feb. 7. That game will also be at Verizon Center.

Look ahead: The Caps have a quick turnaround with a game in Ottawa on Tuesday. They will then play the Devils in New Jersey on Thursday in the final game before the All-Star break.

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Can Tom Wilson be an X-factor for Caps after finding redemption in Game 3?

Can Tom Wilson be an X-factor for Caps after finding redemption in Game 3?

When Mike Babcock essentially dismissed any concern over the impact Tom Wilson could have on a series, Wilson responded. In the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2017, the Caps' forward scored the overtime winner in Game 1 and saved the series in Game 3 with a sweep of the puck off the goal line followed by a goal of his own soon after.

If you dismissed Wilson after Game 1 and Game 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Barry Trotz believes you can expect a similar answer this year after how he played in Game 3.

"I think his game was really good and that will maybe give some trust and confidence in him going forward," Trotz said Wednesday on a conference call with the media.

Wilson's impact in the first round against Toronto was immediate. As a top-line winger this season, expectations for him were high heading into the playoffs. His start to the series, however, left a lot to be desired.

Through the first two games, Wilson did not record a single shot on goal. What's worse, he took a critical penalty in each game that allowed the Blue Jackets to tie the score on each resulting power play.

You can't compare Wilson's impact on the Caps to that of a player like Alex Ovechkin, but a top-line player has to have some sort of positive impact or, at the very least, not be a detriment to his team.

In Game 3, postseason Tom finally delivered.

Wilson recorded six shots on goal and scored Washington's first goal of the game, deflecting in a shot from Matt Niskanen.

"[Wilson's] taken a lot of criticism for his first two games and some of the penalties and the effect it's had on the game," Trotz said. "I think it's given him some confidence. He's a bright young man, he's a leader, he's an all-in guy."

The key now will be for Wilson to build on that confidence.

Columbus has a number of star players such as Artemi Panarin, Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky. What they do not have, however, is the scoring depth to match the Caps. Getting key contributions from players like Wilson in addition to the top playmakers like Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov will make it very hard for the Blue Jackets to keep up.

"[Wilson] had a big effect last year in the first round," Trotz said. "I think he can have a big effect in this series, in this first round."

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Game 4 Capitals at Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 4 Capitals at Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

With a thrilling double-overtime victory in Game 3, the Capitals are right back in the series. Trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1, the Caps will look to even up the series at 2-games apiece before returning to Washington for Game 5.

As the Caps take the ice for Game 4, you can be certain that Braden Holtby will be the man to lead the team in net. His stellar performance in Game 3 resolidified him as the team' starter and ended whatever goalie tandem there was between him and Philipp Grubauer.

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Round 1, Game 4

Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 4 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 4 on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

The Capitals take on the Blue Jackets in Game 4 on Thursday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Columbus. Columbus currently leads the series 2-1.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME ON?

Capitals-Blue Jackets, Game 4 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 Blue Jackets
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS GAME?

Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 4, 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.

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