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Holtby in, Orlov may be out vs. Wild

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Holtby in, Orlov may be out vs. Wild

News, notes and quotes from today’s morning skate at Kettler as the Caps prepare to face the Minnesota Wild tonight at Verizon Center (6:30 pregame, CSN):

Holtby returns: Braden Holtby (38-6-3, 2.22 GAA, .923 SP) will make his sixth straight start for the Caps. He was pulled after allowing three goals on 18 shots in Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Canadiens. Philipp Grubauer took the loss in that game despite allowing one goal on 16 shots.  Holtby is 9-0-1 following losses this season and the Caps are 11-1-1 following defeats.

“This time of year, no matter what position you’re in, it’s usually the toughest part of the year to keep things together and keep moving forward,” Holtby said. “All three of those goals (Wednesday) there’s really no place you can put those (rebounds) differently.”

Latta out, Orlov too?: Michael Latta missed Friday’s morning skate with flu symptoms and is expected to be unavailable tonight. It’s likely the Caps would have gone with a fourth line of center Mike Richards between left wing Brooks Laich and right wing Stan Galiev anyway.

Dmitry Orlov was the last defenseman to leave the ice following the skate and he could be replaced by Taylor Chorney after his giveaway led to the Canadiens’ first goal on Wednesday night. Orlov has six goals, 18 assists and is a plus-14 this season and is one of eight Capitals that have played in all 59 games.

“You don’t want to take the creativity out of Orly,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said. “I just said to him, ‘Just make real good hockey decisions coming out of our zone.’ I give all the players lots of freedom to do what they do offensively. It’s hard to make light plays in the defensive zone.”

Wilson on benching: Tom Wilson said he understands Trotz’s reasoning for benching him in the second period on Wednesday after he took boarding and hooking penalties 12 minutes apart in the first period.

“I think Trotzy is sending me the message that it’s unacceptable,” said Wilson, who has five goals, 14 assists and 130 penalty minutes this season. “It’s no rocket science. It’s two penalties in a short period of time by a player who shouldn’t be doing that. He put me on the bench the whole period there and I can’t be going out there taking penalties.”

Wilson’s boarding penalty came when Montreal defenseman Greg Pateryn turned his back on him just as he arrived. Wilson, who has been a marked man this season, has been instructed to go in with his stick first in those situations  

“Guys are now brave because they turn their backs last minute and you’ve just got to understand that,” Trotz said. “If you just remember stick on puck, it takes you away from hitting through the guy. If they’re staring at you, you can go through them. A lot of guys are spinning at the last moment trying to draw penalties.”

MORE CAPITALS: Round table: Will players be rested down the stretch?

Here’s how we expect the Caps’ lineup to look tonight:

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams

Jason Chimera – Marcus Johansson – Tom Wilson

Brooks Laich – Mike Richards - Stan Galiev

Injured: Jay Beagle (hand), Michael Latta (flu)

Defense pairs

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Nate Schmidt – John Carlson

Brooks Orpik – Taylor Chorney/Dmitry Orlov

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby (starter) – Philipp Grubauer

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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

HOW DID THE CAPS WIN THEIR SERIES AGAINST COLUMBUS? FIND OUT HERE

But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.

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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Capitals vs. Penguins schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Capitals vs. Penguins schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Capitals and Penguins face off in the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference semifinals, marking the third consecutive season the two Metro Division rivals have met in the playoffs.

The Capitals have beaten the Penguins in a playoff series just once in ten attempts dating back to 1991, and all five of the Penguins' Stanley Cup Championships included series wins over Washington.

The Capitals and Penguins split the regular-season series 2-2, with both teams picking up wins at home and on the road. The Capitals outscored the Penguins 13-12 over the course of the four regular-season games. 

The Capitals vs. Penguins 2018 NHL Playoff series will begin on Thursday, April 24 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. E.T.

Pregame coverage of the Capitals vs. Penguins on NBC Sports Washington begins an hour before puck-drop with Caps FaceOff, followed by Caps GameTime.

Caps Extra follows each playoff game with Caps OverTime after that. 

Stream Pre- and postgame coverage of Capitals vs. Penguins Game 1 on NBC Sports Washington.

Game 2 information has yet to be released.

CAPITALS vs. PENGUINS 2018 NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 1: Penguins at Capitals
Date: Thursday, April 26
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 2: Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 3: Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 4: Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 5 (If Necessary): Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 6 (If Necessary): Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 7 (If necessary): Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)