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Chimera still waiting for offer from Capitals

Chimera still waiting for offer from Capitals

With the NHL’s free agent frenzy just two days away – contract signings can begin at noon on Friday – Jason Chimera’s future with the Capitals is in serious jeopardy.

“I wish I had more to report,” Chimera said in a text message on Wednesday. “Nothing yet.”

Barring a late contract offer from the Capitals, Chimera, 37, will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career on Friday.

RELATED: Caps opt for less grueling, more cohesive prospects camp

The veteran left wing matched his career high with 20 goals last season, his seventh with the Capitals. But with the Capitals uncertain how much cap space they’ll have after signing restricted free agents Marcus Johansson, Tom Wilson and Dmitry Orlov, Chimera almost certainly will enter the free agent market and sign with another NHL team.

Or will he?

Among teams reportedly interested in Chimera are his hometown Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets.

After trading for center Lars Eller and his $3.5 million cap hit, the Caps now have roughly $11 million in cap space.

Johansson, who last year received a $3.75 million arbitration award, likely will carry a cap hit in the $4.25 million range.

If that’s the case, and if Tom Wilson’s cap hit comes in around $1.5 million and Dmitry Orlov is in the $2.5 million range, that would leave the Caps roughly $2.5 million in cap space.

Chimera, who made $2 million last season, could squeeze under the cap if he takes a deal with a similar value. In many respects he could provide the Caps exactly what they’re looking for in a third-line left wing – a lot of speed and the ability to score goals.

If the Caps do not re-sign Chimera, they would have a hole at third-line left wing that looks like this:

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Andre Burakovsky

?????? – Lars Eller – Justin Williams

Daniel Winnik – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson

MORE CAPITALS: Samsonov dealing with 'culture shock'

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.


Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.

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3 stars of the game: Caps erupt in 3rd for dominant win over Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps erupt in 3rd for dominant win over Sabres

The Capitals needed a win in the worst way and they got one, dispatching the Buffalo Sabres in dominating fashion with a 5-1 win.

Washington was locked in a tight game leading 2-0 heading into the third period when Sam Reinhart scored just 14 seconds into the period to pull Buffalo to within one. The Caps then slammed the door shut, scoring three unanswered goals to put away the Sabres.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Alex Ovechkin: This was career game No. 983 for Ovechkin, tying him for the franchise record for most games played with Calle Johansson. Ovechkin very fittingly celebrated the occasion with two goals. The first came on a power play goal from the office, but there was no need for a one-timer on this one. The Sabres gave him all the time he needed to aim up the shot and wrist it into the top corner.

He added a second goal late off a deflection from a John Carlson shot.

2. Evgeny Kuznetsov: To say the Caps have struggled at the start of games would be an understatement. In the last 18 games, Washington has held the lead after the first period only once. Kuznetsov made sure this game started off on the right foot as he scored just 50 seconds into the game. He turned on the jets in the neutral zone to turn the edge on Jason Pominville then easily skated around a weak, ill-advised challenge from Robin Lehner before flinging the puck into the yawning net.

It was the fastest goal to start a game by the Caps this season. It was just the start of what would be a four-point night for the Caps' center as he added three assists.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky had the highlight of the game with his end-to-end goal in the second period to put Washington up 2-0. He looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he launched himself from the defensive zone, streaked down the center of the ice and in on net to slide the puck through the Lehner's five-hole.

Look how Burakovsky was able to slice through the Sabres' defense. Buffalo had him surrounded, but his speed caught the Sabres off-guard and they were not able to recover in time to actually slow him down.