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Caps use power play to skate past the Lightning


Caps use power play to skate past the Lightning

How it happened: The Capitals came out sharp to stall a streaking Tampa Bay Lightning team with three goals in the first two periods in their 4-2 win on Friday. Alex Ovechkin struck first in the opening frame with a power play goal, Jason Chimera pushed in another with a man-advantage in the second period and Marcus Johansson blew the game open with an even-strength goal just over a minute after that. T.J. Oshie then added another power play goal for good measure at the 5:16 mark in the third period. The Capitals provided Lightning's backup netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy with a long night, as he allowed four goals for the first time this season. The Capitals have scored four goals or more in three of their last four games.

What it means: The Capitals won their fourth straight game and moved to 16-5-1 on the season. They tied the New York Rangers in wins atop the Metropolitan division, but trail them in points 34 to 33. The Rangers lost to the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Friday afternoon. They have dropped two straight after winning 11 of their previous 12.

Ovi scores again: Ovechkin broke a scoreless tie at the 7:09 mark in the first period with his fourth goal in the last five games, this one a power play tally. Evgeny Kuznetsov found Ovechkin with a pass through the crease and Ovi put it top shelf over Vasilevskiy's left shoulder. It was Ovi's 487th career goal and his 12th in 21 games this season.

Kuznetsov continues to shine: Kuznetsov finished with multiple points for the third time in his last four games. He assisted Ovechkin's first period goal moments after starting the attack with a dump-in pass off the backwall to himself. He passed to Chimera, who returned it to Kuzy to set up Ovi's snapshot at the left circle. Kuznetsov then set Chimera up for a goal at the 18:57 mark in the second period. He found Chimmer at the doorstep to the right of Vasilevskiy for an easy score. Kuznetsov has eight points in his last four games and 11 in his last eight. He now has 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists) in 22 games this season. His 26 points put him at fourth in the NHL and his 18 assists rank sixth as of the final buzzer on Friday.

Carlson's big milestone night: Playing in his 400th consecutive game wasn't the only notable accomplishment for John Carlson in the Caps' win. He added two assists for the second straight game. It was his fourth multi-assist game this season and the 25th of his career. Carlson now has 17 points through 22 games overall in 2015-16.

Coming out strong: Ovechkin's first period goal gave the Capitals the advantage, but their early dominance went much further than that. They outshot the Lightning 18-9 through 20 minutes to set a season-high for SOG in a period and won 15 of 25 (60%) face-offs. The Capitals are now 10-1-0 in home games they score first and 6-0-0 in ones they led after the first period.

Look ahead: The Capitals waste no time moving on with a flight to Toronto on Friday night. They face the Maple Leafs (7-10-5, 19) at 7 p.m. on Saturday  [CSN+]. That begins a three-game road trip through Canada with stops in Montreal and Winnipeg to follow. The Caps return home to face the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 8.

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal


Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”


Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.


For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

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

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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


The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.


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

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


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

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

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

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby 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.