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Daniel Winnik the unlikely hero in Capitals win over Islanders

Daniel Winnik the unlikely hero in Capitals win over Islanders

The Capitals earned their first win of the season as they downed the New York Islanders 2-1 in the home opener at Verizon Center.

How it happened: The fourth line of Daniel Winnik, Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson took over the game for the Capitals generating multiple opportunities and five shots on goal throughout the night. Winnik netted both of the Capitals' goals en route to the victory.

What it means: The win is the team's first of the season after losing the opener to Pittsburgh. The Caps have now earned three points in two games while the Islanders have lost both of their first two games.

In it to Winnik: Winnik was the unlikely hero for the Capitals scoring both of the team's goals in the low-scoring affair. With the score tied at one in the second period, Winnik was able to beat defenseman Travis Hamonic one-on-one and then deked goalie Thomas Greiss on the short breakaway to put the Caps ahead. They would not relinquish that lead the rest of the night. With his two goals, Winnik is now tied with Andre Burakovsky for the team lead.

You can read more on his big night here.

A tribute to Chimera: Jason Chimera played in Washington for seven seasons before leaving in free agency over the offseason. He remains very much a fan favorite for his play and energy while in Washington and that was evident in the first period. The Capitals played a video tribute to the “Ice Cheetah” which received thunderous applause and a standing ovation from the crowd.

A night to remember...and forget: Islanders forward Mathew Barzal accomplished his dream by making his NHL debut on Saturday, but the 19-year-old struggled right out of the gate taking two penalties on his first two shifts. After getting called for slashing Evgeny Kuznetsov, his second penalty was a bit unique. As time expired on his first penalty, the door to the box was opened and Barzal tried to play the puck before he got back onto the ice. By rule, that is a penalty and he was froced to go right back to the box. Barzal then added a third penalty in the third period as he was called for tripping Karl Alzner. This will be a night to remember for Barzal, but it was also the night in which he realized just how hard it is to play in the NHL.

Powerless: The Capitals failed to score on all five of their power play opportunities in the game. They have yet to earn a single goal on the man advantage this season, going 0-for-8 in the process. That’s a troubling sign for a team that has had one of the most prolific power play attacks in the NHL over the past few seasons. Last year, the Caps finished fifth in the NHL scoring on 21.9 percent of their opportunities.

Look ahead: The Caps stay home for their next contest as they host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. They then head to the Sunshine State for a date with the Florida Panthers Thursday before returning home again.

MORE CAPITALS: WATCH: Winnik scores pair of goals in Caps home opener

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

The Capitals continued to retool their scuffling blue line on Wednesday, acquiring 26-year-old defenseman Jakub Jerabek from Montreal in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

The move comes a couple of days after GM Brian MacLellan dealt a conditional third-round selection to Chicago for swift skating Michal Kempny.

Both Jerabek and Kempny are left shot, puck-moving defensemen who move well and make crisp outlet passes. Both also hail from the Czech Republic.

RELATED: BRADEN HOLTBY BLAMES HIMSELF FOR TAMPA LOSS

The team sees Jerabek as a No. 5 or 6, I’m told.

On Wednesday, the Caps also officially said goodbye to Taylor Chorney, who was claimed off waivers by Columbus. Chorney will report to the Blue Jackets.

The Caps were off on Wednesday as they made their way Florida for Thursday night’s meeting with the Panthers, so it’s unclear how Coach Barry Trotz intends to deploy his new defensemen.

But it’s probably safe to assume that Kempny will move into a spot within the top four with John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

MORE CAPITALS: GET TO KNOW MICHAL KEMPNY

That figures to leave Brooks Orpik and Jerabek on the third pair, while rookies Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey jockey for position as the next man up.

Kempny is expected to make his Caps’ debut on Thursday night.

Is the Caps’ D corps better? Well, that remains to be seen. But it had become clear to MacLellan and Co. in recent weeks that the status quo was not going to cut it. This month, in fact, the team has allowed 39 goals in 10 games. Only the Rangers (40) have allowed more in the same span.

With the trade deadline looming next Monday, the Caps now have roughly $617,000 in cap space, according to www.capfriendly.com, and are at the roster maximum of 23 players. So they would need to make a move in order to add another body.

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NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline is nearly here, marking the final point in the season teams can make major shakeups before preparing for the stretch run and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline takes place a week earlier than in 2017, and teams have until 3:00 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon, February 26 to make their final pre-deadline deals. That being said, the trade deadline is not the end of player movement in 2018, but signifies the end of the open trade window.

But with less than w eek left, the trade rumors are swirling, with teams putting out feelers and reaching out to potential trade partners.

The Capitals started the trade deadline period a week early, with a minor trade on Monday and another on Wednesday.

RELATED: TRACKING THE FAVORITES TO WIN NHL AWARDS

2018 NHL TRADE DEADLINE TRACKER:

February 21: TRADE — The Montreal Canadiens trade D Jakub Jerabek to the Washington Capitals for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 21: RUMOR — The Columbus Blue Jackets have shown interest in acquiring Artem Anisimov from the Chicago Blackhawks, a team attempting a major rebuild toward the end of the 2017-18 season.

February 20: TRADE — The Toronto Maple Leafs trade C Erif Fehr to the San Jose Sharks for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

February 20: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators are looking to deal D Erik Karlsson and C Bobby Ryan. The Sens have already begun to enter "tank" mode. Moving Karlsson and/or Ryan would make it all but official.

February 20: TRADE — The New York Rangers trade D Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins for D Rob O'Gara and a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

February 19: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 19: RUMOR — The Anaheim Ducks look to be targeting Vancouver Canucks LW Thomas Vanek, but the Canucks may 'kick tires" on a potential trade if the return isn't right. 

February 19: TRADE — The Detroit Red Wings trade G Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 19: RUMOR — The Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in pursuing speedy New York Rangers RW Michael Grabner.

February 17: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators' fire sale continues to heat up. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in Senators RW Mike Hoffman and C Derick Brassard.

February 15: TRADE — Toronto Maple Leafs trade RW Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 15: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Ville Pokka to the Ottawa Senators for LW Chris DiDomenico.

February 13: RUMOR — New York Rangers LW Rick Nash is rumored to be a major trade target for virtually every team within playoff reach. The Nashville Predators have been rumored to be the favorites for the former No. 1 overall draft pick.

February 13: TRADE — The Los Angeles Kings trade RW Marian Gaborik and C Nick Shore to the Ottawa Senators for D Dion Phaneuf and C Nate Thompson.