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Carey finishes tough week with first NHL goal for Caps

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Carey finishes tough week with first NHL goal for Caps

NEWARK, N.J. -- It’s been a tough week for Capitals left wing Paul Carey, who earlier this week lost his uncle. But on Saturday afternoon the 27-year-old from Weymouth, Mass., gave his family reason to smile.

Not to mention his teammates and a new legion of fans.

With the game clock melting under 6 minutes and the Capitals trailing by a goal, Carey parked himself in the slot and redirected a Matt Niskanen pass behind New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider, giving him his first NHL goal and setting the stage for Alex Ovechkin’s shootout winner in a 3-2 victory for the Caps at the Prudential Center.

“Right off the faceoff we were grinding it out down low,” said Carey, who was recalled from the AHL Hershey Bears on Friday and met the team at Dulles International Airport.

“Brooks (Laich) and Latts (Michael Latta) made a great play to win the battles down low and pop it out to Nisky (Matt Niskanen) on the wall and he made a great play finding me in the middle,” Carey said, remembering every one of his teammates’ nicknames. “I just kept my stick on the ice.”

So, why was Carey, a 27-year-old career minor leaguer, even in the lineup when coach Barry Trotz had the option of using Stan Galiev? 

“I wanted to find out more about Paul Carey,” Trotz said. “We’re getting into February and I want to see what we really have. I liked his first stint up in New York. I just wanted to take a look at Paul.”

Before Saturday, Carey’s claim to fame was being the first off the bench to celebrate Ovechkin’s 500th NHL goal in just his second NHL game with the Caps.  

On Saturday he was all over the ice, along with his linemates, Laich and Latta.

“It’s nice,” Ovechkin said. “I think they were the best line for us. They were physical, they played in their zone most of the time and they deserved it.”

When it came to the shootout, Trotz said he selected T.J. Oshie (goal) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (stopped) as his first two shooters, then looked at assistant coach Blaine Forsythe for advice.

Forsythe chose Ovechkin over Nicklas Backstrom. The Capitals’ captain pulled a move out of Matt Hendricks’ shootout tricks and beat Schneider with a left-footed kickstart, followed by a backhander.

“That wasn’t Hendy’s,” Ovechkin said of his new move. “That was Oshie’s move.”

Carey was asked after the game if he asked Trotz to call his name in the scoreless overtime period.

“I did not,” he said.

How about the shootout?

“I did not,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe next time.”

Carey said that he’ll always cherish the puck Jason Chimera fished out of the net for him, but not as much as the memory of going back to the bench and being greeted by his teammates.

“You always envision your first goal to be a good one and to tie it up in the third period was a good feeling,” he said. “The fact I could help out the team on a callup makes it even better.

“All the boys were smiling,” he said. “They’re great teammates.”

MORE CAPITALS: Caps earn shootout win after late game-tying goal from Carey

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby.

Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty-handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1.

It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win in hand as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus to actually play in the game. But he did. He started off very well, making several strong saves in the first period. Washington scored late in the opening period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead late in the third, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking, Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but a point as well.