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Game 6 Preview: News and notes to get you ready for Caps-Pens

Game 6 Preview: News and notes to get you ready for Caps-Pens

PITTSBURGH -- News, notes and projected lineups as the Capitals try to stave off elimination tonight in Game 6 of their  second-round series against the Penguins (7 p.m. pregame, CSN):

By the numbers: The Caps are 10-7 in their last 17 elimination games during the Alex Ovechkin era (4-5 since 2010). Barry Trotz is 2-1 in elimination games as the Capitals’ head coach, his only loss coming in Game 7 against the Rangers last spring.

Down but not out: The Caps are 2-6 in playoff series in which they fall behind three games to one. (Their two series wins came in 2009 against the Rangers and in 1988 against the Flyers). The Caps have forced a Game 7 when trailing 3-1 in a best-of-seven series three of eight times.

Strong finishers: The Caps have outscored opponents 11-3 in third periods this post-season and their plus-8 goal differential in the third period is second-best in the NHL, behind Tampa Bay (plus-9).

Killing them softly: Even without Brooks Orpik for six games (three injury, three suspension) the Caps are 38-for-40 on the penalty kill this postseason and 51-for-53 since April 2. They are 15-for-16 against the Penguins in this series.

Power surge: After scoring one power-play goal in their previous 22 chances, the Caps erupted for two power-play goals in Game 5.

Trending: Including regular season and playoffs, the Caps are 29-10-8 in one-goal games; 36-5-4 when scoring a power-play goal; 39-3-2 when scoring first; 23-0-1 when leading after the first period; and 42-0-1 when leading after two periods (5-0 in the playoffs).

Even Steven: The Penguins have a 3-2 lead in the series but both teams have scored 12 goals and the Caps have recorded just four more shots (167-163).

“I think you’re looking at two solid teams that everyone expected would be in the mix late in the playoffs,” Penguins center Matt Cullen said. “It just so happened we met in the second round. Both teams played some really good hockey in the regular season, consistent hockey, and it’s been no exception in the playoffs.”

Caps defenseman Taylor Chorney agreed.

“There’s a lot of pressure on both teams,” he said. “There’s only maybe a few organizations throughout the league where you’re expected to win every year. 

“They’re obviously one of the teams along with us with the type of teams we have assembled. You’re expected to win and there’s pressure both ways. We’ve just gotta make sure we’re as desperate as we were in Game 5 and probably even more desperate.”

Here are projected lineups for tonight:


Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky - Nicklas Backstrom - Marcus Johansson

- Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Justin Williams

Daniel Winnik - Mike Richards - Tom Wilson

Defense pairings

- Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney


Braden Holtby (starter) -Philipp Grubauer

Scratches: Nate SchmidtMichael LattaStanislav GalievMike Weber


Forward lines

Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Eric Fehr

Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Phil Kessel

Tom Kuhnhackl - Matt Cullen - Bryan Rust

Defense pairings

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang

- Olli Maatta - Trevor Daley

- Ian Cole - Ben Lovejoy


- Matt Murray (starter) - Marc-Andre Fleury

Injured: Kevin Porter (ankle surgery), Scott Wilson (lower body), Beau Bennett (undisclosed)

Scratches: Jeff ZatkoffDerrick PouliotJustin SchultzOskar Sundqvist

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


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Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Alex Ovechkin further cemented his place in NHL history, John Carlson stayed hot and Braden Holtby was good when called upon as the Caps downed the Stars, 4-3, at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.

The victory was Washington’s fifth in the past six games. It also marked the Caps’ first win over Dallas in D.C. since 2006.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season and the 602nd of his career in the second period to give the Caps a short-lived 3-2 edge in the second period.

The goal put Ovi back atop the league as he seeks a seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. It also pushed him past Jari Karri and into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin has now victimized Kari Lehtonen 22 times, which is tied for the most goals he’s scored against a single netminder. (Henrik Lundqvist has also given up 22 goals to No. 8). Ovi also had a couple of secondary helpers.

2-John Carlson, Capitals

Carlson scored the game-winner 4:59 with left to play, blasting a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Caps ahead 4-3.

Carlson also notched an assist, which allowed him to stay even with Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg had two assists. Both players ended the game with 61 points—tied for the most among all NHL defensemen.    

3-Alexander Radulov, Stars

From his first shift, it was apparent that Radulov was determined to leave his mark on the game. And he did just that, recording a goal, an assist and boarding minor that bloodied Caps defenseman Michal Kempny. Radulov’s goal—a redirection of a John Klingberg shot—was his 26th and it evened the score, 2-2, in the second period.

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