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Chimera: 'We're trying to make our own history'

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Chimera: 'We're trying to make our own history'

PHILADELPHIA – Tonight in the City of Brotherly Shove, the Capitals will try to do something they’ve never done in their long playoff history: take a 3-0 series lead.

The Caps have been involved in 35 best-of-seven series and are 0-7 whenever they’ve had the opportunity to go up 3-0 in a series. In fact, the Capitals have lost five of the seven playoff series in which they’ve owned a 2-0 series lead (best-of-seven).

“It’s history for a reason,” Capitals veteran left wing Jason Chimera said Monday following the Caps’ morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center, where they’ll face the Philadelphia Flyers in game 3 (6 p.m Pregame Live, CSN).  “That’s what they say, it’s past history. We’re trying to make our own history.

“Different teams, different years. The past is in the past and you can’t do nothing about it. We can do something about what we’ve got now and that’s what we’re concentrating on.”

Many believe tonight’s game might be the Capitals’ most difficult challenge of their first-round series, simply because the emotion in the building could be off the charts. One week after the passing of legendary owner Ed Snider, the Flyers will pay tribute to their founder with a two-minute pregame video, followed by Lauren Hart’s singing of God Bless America.

“I think the players are well aware of what happened and what Mr. Snider meant to the Flyers organization, what he meant to the community, what he meant to the growth of hockey south of the (Canadian) border,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, noting that two of his players, Justin Williams and Mike Richards, played for the Flyers under Snider.

Williams said he remembered Snider calling him on the phone after he was traded from Philadelphia to Carolina in 2004.

“To call me on the phone and wish me luck, there are just little things like that – it makes owners more a part of the team,” Williams said. “He was an amazing figure. It seemed like he was there with us even when we were on the ice. A great owner and I was glad to be part of his life for a little bit.”

MORE CAPITALS: FLYERS WILL BE DANGEROUS IN GAME THREE

Capitals right win T.J. Oshie said he hopes the Capitals can take the crowd out of the game early, “which is probably not going to happen.”

Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen said the Capitals’ veteran leadership has done a good job of using emotion this season without being controlled by it and he hopes for the same tonight.

“I don’t think we worry about it at all,” he said. “We worry about ourselves, get ourselves ready to play and be ready for a competitive game. They play well here. They feed off the crowd. It’s a fun building to play in, but as always we’re going to have to be at our competitive best to get a win and we’ll try to do that tonight.”

If they do, the Capitals will have accomplished something they’ve never managed to do in their entire playoff history. And for what it’s worth, something their coach has never done in his playoff history behind the bench.

Why, Trotz was asked Monday, is it so difficult to take a 3-0 choke hold in a playoff series?

“Urgency, desperation,” he said. “You can’t create that. You try, but you can’t. When your backs are against the wall, you know that in any situation in life, you become very resilient and strong and determined and collectively that sense can be very powerful. We’ve got to make sure we know we’re bringing our best game and if we do that I like our chances.”

Niskanen agreed.

“We want to steal a game here,” he said. “We’re going to go after it tonight. It gets harder as the series goes on to get wins. The team that’s down gets more and more desperate, so we’re going to have to be better than we were in Game 1 and Game 2.”   

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

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NBC Sports Washington

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.