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Guess what Flyers fans told Alex Ovechkin

Guess what Flyers fans told Alex Ovechkin

Following Sunday’s post-game handshake between the Capitals and Flyers, which remains one of the most honorable traditions in professional sports, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was skating off the Wells Fargo Center ice when several Flyers fans began screaming at him.

But it wasn’t what you (or he) might expect.

“Go beat the Penguins!” a fan yelled. Followed by another, and another. Until it became a mini-chant.

As a reward for surviving a six-game series that featured 403 hits (205 by the Flyers, 198 by the Caps) the Capitals get to face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who rolled over the New York Rangers in five games, outscoring them 21-10.

“It should be a lot of fun,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. “They’re hot right now. They were hot the whole end of the season. I watched a lot of their (first-round) series and they were good, scoring a lot of goals.

“It’s going to be a serious test from that team. It’s cool to stay in the state of Pennsylvania, not too far of a trip for us.”

The Capitals will be given the day off on Monday and are expected to begin preparations for the Penguins on Tuesday. The schedule for the second round is expected to be announced at the conclusion of Round 1, which could come as soon as Monday or as late as Wednesday, depending on the outcome of the Anaheim-Nashville series.   

Thanks to winning the Presidents’ Trophy the Capitals will open their second-round series against the Penguins at Verizon Center, with possible starting dates of Thursday orSaturday. (Justin Bieber is performing at Verizon Center on Friday).

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Caps right wing Marcus Johansson, who assisted on Nicklas Backstrom’s game-winning goal on Sunday. “I think the farther you get the more fun it gets. I can’t wait to get started. It’s the best thing there is, to play playoff hockey and keep going on.”

The Caps went 2-2-1 against the Penguins in their five regular season matchups. Sidney Crosby gathered one goal and three assists in the season series, while Alex Ovechkin was held without a point.

“Both are fast teams,” said Flyers left wing Jake Voracek, who was held to one goal in six games against the Caps. “It’s going to be a great series.

“I don’t know if I’ll watch because I need to rest up, but it’s going to be a great series. Two very good teams. Pittsburgh is playing well from what I saw. I’m not going to say who’s going to win or who’s going to lose. It’s too bad it’s not us.”

The Flyers put up quite a fight in their series against the Caps, with former Caps netminder stopping 101 of 103 shots. When the ice shavings settled and the two teams shook hands at center ice, all of the bad blood between the two teams seemed to melt away.

“Actually, a lot of guys were pushing us along, telling us to win,” Alzner said. “It’s funny, because you hate those guys so much when you’re playing them.

“You think everything they do is cheap. You’re friends with one guy and then all of sudden you won’t even wave to him when he walks by you. And then the handshake comes and it’s all good.”

Until the next series.

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!