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Laich says thank you to Caps and their fans


Laich says thank you to Caps and their fans

Brooks Laich was standing near the Maple Leafs bench and hardly paying attention when his video tribute began. One of the officials noticed and tapped him on the shoulder, alerting him that he was on the big screen above the ice.

The longest-tenured Capital, at least before he was dealt to the Leafs late Sunday night, glanced up at the screen a few times, but it was the reaction from the Capitals bench that caught his eye. Every Capitals player was on his feet, whacking their sticks against the boards in applause of their 32-year-old former teammate.

“I wished the guys good luck,” Laich said. “I looked some of the guys in the eye and looked down the bench and wished them all good luck.”

Laich then turned toward the crowd and applauded the fans who meant so much to him during his 12 years in Washington.

And then he went back to playing hockey.

Laich logged 14:17 of ice time in the Leafs’ 3-2 loss to the Caps. More than four minutes of that ice time came on the power play, something he has not experienced in several seasons in D.C.

“It’s nice to get the offensive mind going again instead of being on the penalty kill where you’re always in that defensive mindset,” Laich said.

MORE CAPITALS: Leonsis snaps selfie with NHL Commissioner Bettman

Laich was impressed with the way the Leafs, who have eight players 23 years old or younger, hung in there with the NHL’s top team, fighting back from a 2-0 deficit before falling 3-2.

“This can be a very intimidating building and in the first period we didn’t shy away from it,” Laich said. “We held them down in shots. In the second period we started to build and you could see some frustration on their faces. It’s a big tribute to the way our kids played.”

Laich said there was not a lot of conversation on the ice with his former teammates.

“Some of the guys said hi. I kind of wanted to park that and focus on the game. We played a heck of a game and I didn’t want to get distracted.”

And with that, Laich’s first game back in Washington just three nights after he was traded was over. And instead of returning to his home just a short drive away, he boarded a plane for Toronto, where the Leafs will face the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.   

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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.