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Kuznetsov nets OT winner in tight battle with Detroit


Kuznetsov nets OT winner in tight battle with Detroit

Post-game an analysis of the Capitals’ 2-1 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit:

How it happened: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the game-winner just 45 seconds into overtime when he lowered his left shoulder to get past Henrik Zetterberg, then beat goaltender Petr Mrazek with a backhand to forehand move, going under the goalie’s arm for his sixth goal of the season. Justin Williams also scored for the Caps, who bounced back from Friday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to Calgary.

What it means: The Caps (12-4-1, 25 points) are now a perfect 5-0 after losses this season. They are also 2-0-1 in their last three and have moved within five points of the Metro Division-leading Rangers with one game in hand.

Holt-beast: Braden Holtby stopped 26 shots to earn his 10th win of the season, tied with Henrik Lundqvist, Devan Dubnyk and Pekka Rinne for most in the NHL. Holtby’s biggest stops came on breakaways by Darren Helm and Teemu Pukkinen, the second of which skidded through his pads and off the right post.

Still waiting: Alex Ovechkin fired six shots on goal, including five in the opening period, but failed to score and remains tied with Sergei Fedorov for most NHL goals by a Russian-born player (483). Ovechkin set up scoring chances by T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Nate Schmidt and was used as a decoy by Matt Niskanen on Justin Williams’ first-period power play goal.

Injury update: Defenseman Brooks Orpik sat out his third straight game with a lower body injury. He skated with the club on Wednesday morning and remains questionable for Thursday night’s home game against the Dallas Stars.

Look ahead: The Caps begin a five-game homestand that extends through Black Friday when they host the Stars on Thursday. It is uncertain whether backup Philipp Grubauer or Holtby will get the call, but with a late return flight from Detroit, Grubauer seems most likely.

RELATED: Holtby makes incredible stick save against Detroit

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

NBC Sports Washington

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.