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New York Islanders will head to Brooklyn

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New York Islanders will head to Brooklyn

When the New York Islanders announced today they’ll be moving to Brooklyn in three years, the reaction around the NHL must have been, “Why wait so long?”

“People on the Island might be mad they weren’t able to get a deal done there,” Capitals veteran winger Jason Chimera said when told of the news. “Hopefully, it will prosper more [in Brooklyn] than in the Island.”

Our sentiments exactly. Nassau Coliseum is the second-oldest arena in the NHL, behind Madison Square Garden. But unlike the Garden, which was beautifully renovated last year, the Coliseum is in desperate need of a facelift.

“It’s the NHL, it’s not like it’s a hard place to play,” Chimera said. “It’s a little run down, but it’s still a hockey rink. We played in a lot worse growing up.”

The Isles began playing at the Coliseum in 1972 and won four Stanley Cups there in the early 1980s. But despite several attempts to rebuild, the Islanders have not been to the playoffs since 2007 and finished with the second-worst attendance in the NHL last season at 13,191, well below the Coliseum’s 16,234 capacity.

The Islanders’ future home, Barclays Center, is also the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. It currently seats 14,500 for hockey, although NHL commissioner Gary Bettman anticipates the building adding at least 500 more seats by the start of the 2015-16 season.

Even with the extra seating Barclays Center would be the smallest building in the NHL, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Islanders, who will keep their name and logo despit the move inland.

“It’s good for them, I think,” Caps winger Jay Beagle said. “They have a lot of up and coming talent and hopefully they can go to a place that fills the barn and gets sellouts.”

Beagle says he’ll always hold a special place in his heart for the Coliseum since he often played there as a rookie call-up from the Hershey Bears.

“It was my lucky spot, so I have some good memories there,” he said.

The Capitals have had a few defining moments on Long Island as well. They played their first-ever playoff game at the Coliseum back on April 6, 1983 with goalie Pat Riggin between the pipes.

In fact, the Caps and Isles faced each other five straight springs from 1983-87 but have played only once in the playoffs since.

Have a favorite memory of the Coliseum? Join the conversation below.

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Capitals to face Penguins in NHL Playoffs for third consecutive year

Capitals to face Penguins in NHL Playoffs for third consecutive year

The Caps are headed to the 2018 NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins… again.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

Yes, for the third time in three years, the Capitals will play the Penguins, hoping to take down the defending Stanley Cup champions and advance out of the second round of the playoffs and to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the 1998 season, when the team made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Capitals are riding momentum from their first-round series win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, where they fought back from an 0-2 series hole to win the series thanks to a 6-3 victory in Game 6 Monday night in Columbus.

That momentum coupled with home-ice advantage — should they choose to capitalize on that this time around — could create an ideal atmosphere for the Caps to take a 2-0 series lead before heading to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4.

A perennial problem, Sidney Crosby enters this series playing some of his best playoff hockey. In their 4-2 series win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pens’ captain scored six goals in six games, including a hat trick in the opening matchup.

But he’s not the only one creating havoc for goalies. Center Jake Guentzel is tied with Crosby at the top of the league in goals and points in the playoffs. The pair each had six goals and seven assists against the Flyers, as well as 17 shots on goal apiece.

Is it possible they’ll get stonewalled by Braden Holtby, who — despite not starting initially in the first two games for the Caps against the Blue Jackets — is rocking a 93.6 save percentage and ranks fourth in the league with a 1.66 goals against average among goaltenders who have played more than one postseason game.

If the Caps can find a spark in their offense with Holtby staying strong in goal, perhaps this could be the year they finally slide past the Pens.

However, history isn’t exactly on Washington’s side. In the second-round series from the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, the Pens hold an 8-5 record over the Caps, eliminating them both years on their way to back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Pittsburgh leads the Caps in the overall playoff game record, 38-24, and they’ve met for 10 series in the postseason, dating back to 1990-91. Four times the series was pushed to a Game 7, but the Caps never came out on top.

The one and only time the Caps have ever eliminated the Pens from the playoffs was in the 1993-94 season, when they beat Pittsburgh 4-2 in the first round before losing to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

But hey, this year could become the second time in franchise history the Caps take down the Pens.

The NHL has yet to announce when Game 1 of the Capitals vs. Penguins series will take place, but with the Wizards playing Game 6 of their NBA Playoff series at home on Friday, the likliest start date is either Thursday, April 26 or Saturday, April 28.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps win 4th straight to beat Blue Jackets, advance to face the Penguins

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps win 4th straight to beat Blue Jackets, advance to face the Penguins

COLUMBUS—Alex Ovechkin scored two goals in the second period, and the Caps eliminated the Blue Jackets with a 6-3 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Monday night.

Washington, which closed out the series with four straight victories, will now face Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh in the semifinals for the third straight spring and the fourth time since 2009.  

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

The Caps’ captain scored the 50th and 51st playoff goals of his career in the middle frame to put the visitors in command, 3-1. His first goal came on a rebound at the top of the blue paint. The second came in a much more familiar fashion: on the power play from the Ovi Office.

2-Devante Smith-Pelly, Capitals

DSP was signed, in part, due to his reputation of coming up big in the playoffs. And he did it again in the third period, scoring an unassisted goal with a rip over Sergei Bobrovsky’s glove to put the Caps ahead 4-2…a couple of shifts after Pierre-Luc Dubois had trimmed Washington’s lead to 3-2. The tally was Smith-Pelly’s second this postseason.

3-Dmitry Orlov, Capitals

Orlov scored a goal scorer’s goal in the first period. At the point, the Dman dragged the puck around a hard-charging Artemi Panarin before rifling a slap shot past Bobrovsky, who also happens to be Orlov’s best friend off the ice. The goal was the first ever playoff tally for Orlov.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.