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MacLellan: Connolly remains in Caps' plans despite postseason benching

MacLellan: Connolly remains in Caps' plans despite postseason benching

Although Brett Connolly didn’t see the ice much in the playoffs, it sounds like the Capitals are very interested in re-signing the winger.

Capitals GM Brian MacLellan confirmed on Tuesday that the team has already engaged in substantive discussions with Connolly’s agent.

“We have his rights,” MacLellan said. “We’ve talked a couple of times about contract with his representative. We’ve been close a couple times.”

RELATED: MacLellan won't blow up Caps' roster this offseason

MacLellan indicated that he envisions Connolly’s role in 2017-18 to be similar to the one he played this season—on either side of the third or fourth forward lines.

Connolly, who was signed to a one-year, $850,000 contract last summer, had a career year this winter, amassing 15 goals and 8 assists in 66 games. The 25-year-old overcame a slow start and became an integral part of the Caps’ third line in the second half of the season.

In the playoffs, though, Connolly did not record a point against Toronto, then did not see the ice after Game 1 of the Pittsburgh series.

“I’d like to have him back,” MacLellan said. “He’s a young guy who still has some upside. I thought he had a very good year this year.”

Connolly said recently that he wants to return to Washington and believes he can build on the breakout campaign he enjoyed this past season.

“Again, I’d love to be back,” he said. “I thought it was a good fit, and I feel that I can take the next step with this organization and be a better player next year than I was this year.”

MORE CAPITALS: One more reason to hate Justin Bieber

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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.