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Lesson learned? Stay out of the box

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Lesson learned? Stay out of the box

Say what you want about the Capitals penalty killers surrendering the game-tying and game-winning goals in Monday nights excruciating 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers that pushed them to the brink of playoff elimination.

If the Capitals hope to even the series at three wins apiece on Wednesday and force a Game 7 in New York on Saturday, theyll need to be far more disciplined with their sticks than they were in Game 5.

Two of the Rangers three goals came with Joel Ward in the penalty box for high-sticking Carl Hagelin in the chin during a faceoff battle. But it wasnt the only stick infraction for the Capitals.

In the first period, Roman Hamrlik was guilty of a careless high stick on Rangers center John Michell. In the second, Mike Green took a retaliatory slash on Dan Girardi after taking a hit behind the net.

And although the Caps penalty killers held the Rangers without a shot on their first three power plays, Wards late penalty eventually cost them. Of the five games in this series, three have been decided by power-play goals Alex Ovechkin, Green, Marc Staal.

What I learned from this series is its about competing and staying out of the box, Hamrlik said You see last night we take a bad penalty and it cost us. We have to stay out of the box.

Thats the most important thing. When were five-on-five we have a chance to beat them. We proved that.

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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!