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End of season review: Curtis Glencross


End of season review: Curtis Glencross

Throughout the coming weeks, Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2014-15 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Curtis Glencross

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Age: 32 [turns 33 Dec.  28]

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 197

Games: 71

Goals: 13

Assists: 22

Points: 35

Penalty minutes: 45

Plus-Minus: Plus-2

Average Ice Time: 15:38

Playoff games: 10

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

Points: 1

Penalty minutes: 2

Plus-Minus: Minus-5

Average Ice Time: 10:25

Contract Status: UFA [2014-15 salary: $2.5 million; cap hit: $2.55 million]

Strengths: Acquired from the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline for a second- and third-round pick in the 2015 draft, Glencross arrived with a bang, recording four goals and two assists while averaging over 13 minutes of ice time in his first seven games. But he went dry after that, managing just one assist in his final 11 games with the Caps and being made a healthy scratch four times in the playoffs, including Game 7 against the Rangers when Eric Fehr returned from injury to replace him. “It was a little bit of a roller coaster,” Glencross said. “Coming in it was good early. We had some injuries and things shuffled around and stuff like that. You come in used to playing bigger minutes [16:40 with Calgary] and it’s a change not playing the minutes [12:36 with the Caps]. “But we had a great hockey team this year and it’s disappointing because we felt we had a team hat could push for the Cup. It’s a great group of guys, a great hockey club and a great organization. I had a great time here. The guys made it real comfortable for me coming in and the coaching staff and their video and preparation was as top-notch as I’ve seen.” Glencross also had a chance to play in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. “There’s nothing like playoff hockey, he said. “That series against he Islanders was probably one of the roughest and rugged series that’s gone on in years. It was great hockey and the Rangers series was the same thing. We figured we should have won that series and it’s a tough way to finish the season.”

[MORE CAPITALS End of season review: Tim Gleason]

Room for improvement: Glencross  admitted that learning a new way of playing under Trotz, where playing positional hockey is a must, was difficult for him and probably led to him being a healthy scratch after being a minus-5 in the playoffs. “When you’re here for two months rather than seven or eight months you tend to go back to your comfort zone and what’s worked all year and for a new person to come in and fill certain spots, it’s hard, not only on the players but on the coaching staff,” he said.   “Coaches tend to stick with what’s comfortable. It could have been a completely different situation coming in earlier.”

Memorable Moment: There were two and, well, you know when they were. Glencross scored his biggest goal as a Capital – and possibly his career – when he gave the Caps  a 1-0 lead with 9:06 remaining in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Rangers, putting his own rebound past Henrik Lundqvist. But after the Rangers forced overtime with a goal by Chris Kreider with 1:41 remaining in regulation, Glencross’ neutral zone giveaway led to Ryan McDonagh’s game-winner 9:37 into overtime, keeping the Rangers’ playoff hopes alive. “He came in, scored some goals for us early, then some things went on that he kind of lost his game a little bit and I don’t think we had time to wait around for him to find it again," Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said. "There’s a good player in there. We saw a little bit of it. I made the point to the coaches, if we win that [Game 5] 1-0 when he scored that goal, it's a great trade. That’s the fine line.”

Quotable: “I’ll never look back at this and say it was a mistake.” – Glencross on breakup day

2015-16 Expectations: In all likelihood Glencross has played his final game for the Caps. As an unrestricted free agent he said he will test the market on July 1 and weigh his options. “Whatever’s meant to be is meant to be,” he said. “You have to wait and see what’s going to happen. Come free agency on July 1 we’ll see what’s out there and go from there. You never know until that time comes.” Glencross said he would be interested in staying with the Caps if they were interested in keeping him. “It’s a great team and I feel it’s a team that’s going to win the Cup here in the next few years. … That’s not up to me. There are a lot of other UFAs on this team as well and it’s going to come down to what they feel the right fit is. … There are a lot of good things coming here [to Washington] in the next couple years.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.

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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.