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Caps won’t call Game 2 a must-win, but they will hint at it strongly

Caps won’t call Game 2 a must-win, but they will hint at it strongly

Game 2 is not a must-win game for the Washington Capitals. If they lose, the season isn’t over. They still get a Game 3 regardless of Saturday’s outcome. They even are still guaranteed at least a Game 4.

“It’s 1-0, it’s not 3-0,” Justin Williams said when asked about the team’s stress level. “We’re fine.”

“Stress level?” Alex Ovechkin said. “Everything’s fine. I don’t know, it’s not stress.”

RELATED: Trotz talks Kuznetsov growing into top player role

So it is not a stressed or desperate Caps team that will take the ice on Saturday. Washington will not be a team fighting for their playoff lives. Barry Trotz and Co. have a different mindset.

“There's only really one must game in the playoffs is when you've got three losses,” Barry Trotz said after Saturday’s morning skate. “There's only one must game. For us it's about being better. Tonight we're going to be better. We are going to be better. So are they though. It's the great thing about playoffs. You get to feel each other out. They're going to be better, we're going to be better.”

No, you will not see a panicked Caps team frantically fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. Instead, you will see a confident team looking to even up their series at 1 by being the better team.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t understand what’s at stake. They're not blind. Washington cannot afford to lose both games at home if they have any real hope of winning the series.

“Obviously it's an important game,” Ovechkin said. “Obviously we know we can't give them 2-0 lead."

“When you go into the playoffs and you're playing a championship-caliber team, you've got to go and be the better team plain and simple,” Trotz said. “They have the DNA, they've done it, they've put the Cup over their head. They've done all those things. We have to be the better team. Starting tonight, we have to be the better team.”

MORE CAPITALS: Capitals vs. Penguins Game 2 how to watch

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3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center. 

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Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

When: 5:00 p.m. ET

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

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


The Capitals (41-23-7) take on the Flyers (36-25-11) Sunday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. ET in Philadelphia.


The Capitals-Flyers 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)

4:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
4:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
5:00 p.m. — Capitals at Flyers
7:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
8:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
9:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


The Capitals-Flyers 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.