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Orlov: 'Everybody laugh and I laugh, too'

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Orlov: 'Everybody laugh and I laugh, too'

Long after Dmitry Orlov’s sleight-of-hand goal had made it onto every hockey highlight reel, the Capitals were still talking about it on Sunday, even sparking a new nickname for the 24-year-old Russian defenseman.

Houdini.

“Now you see me, now you don’t,” said Caps defenseman Nate Schmidt, who joined in on Saturday night’s scoring spree in a 7-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. “That was awesome. I still can’t believe it. That and the celebrating. Arm pump, leg kick. Rarely seen, but highly effective.”

Thanks to the benefit of video replay, all of the Caps were able to see that Orlov did not pull a puck from his sleeve and place it on the ice to score his first NHL goal in 20 months. Instead, the saw him fake a shot to lose two defenders, juggle his own shortside rebound from his chest to his feet, then backpedal out of the corner to the front of the net for a goal.

“I saw him make that super nice move and he almost snuck it in the short side, said Orlov’s defense partner Taylor Chorney. “Honesty, after that, I had no idea. I was at the right point just waiting for the whistle because I thought it went out of play. Next thing I know, out of the corner of my eye I saw him pulling out of the corner and fire it in. You don’t see that too often.”

Caps left wing Jason Chimera was standing in the crease looking for a rebound on Orlov’s original shot when he realized the puck was on the other side of the ice and Orlov had it.

“The goalie (Calvin Pickard) motioned like he had it,” Chimera said. “I thought it was there or over the glass. And then ut of the corner of my eye I saw Orly sneaking around, so I kind of stayed there and hoped no one notice.”

No one did, until it was too late.  

The Capitals who were on the bench at the time of Orlov’s goal didn’t know what happened until they saw the replay on the overhead scoreboard.

“I saw the iso cam of him wheeling out of the corner and I was like, ‘What’s he doing?’” Schmidt said. “And all of a sudden he throws it in the back of the net and everyone just blew up. I was just as surprised as anyone else.”

Karl Alzner, one of four Caps defensemen to find the back of the net Saturday night, was just as impressed with the move Orlov made to take the first shot as he was with his presence of mind to score.

“He came down with an unreal move, that was an intense fake, he really sold it,” Alzner said. “And backward crossovers from the corner to an open net, it was just funny. And our celebration was huge.”

As you might imagine, Orlov had his own unique description of his memorable goal.

“I jump in the rush, get the puck, make a move, try to shoot short side,” he recounted. “It not go in, but puck goes to my chest or pants, I don’t remember what it was, and everybody don’t see the puck, so I see everybody look on the other side and I took it right away and start moving. I thought maybe the referee make a whistle or the D will come up to me. And they stayed in the net so I just need to shoot.”

As for the celebration, Orlov smiled broadly.  

“It just happen,” he said. “My emotion, I was so excited. Everybody say congrats. It was a funny goal. Everybody laugh and I laugh, too.” 

Injury update: Defenseman Brooks Orpik, who has missed the past five games with a lower body injury, sat out practice again on Sunday and will not play in Monday night's game against the Edmonton Oilers. Right wing T.,J. Oshie sat out Sunday's practice with what Barry Trotz called maintenance issues. Oshie is expected to play Monday. Anrdre Burakovsksy, who was a healthy scratch on Saturday, took Oshie's spot on the top line.

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Braden Holtby puts loss to Tampa solely on his own shoulders

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USA TODAY Sports

Braden Holtby puts loss to Tampa solely on his own shoulders

The mood in the Capitals locker room following a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday was one of frustration. Forty minutes of strong play from Washington amounted to nothing because of a disastrous opening first period in which the Lightning jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

No one in the locker room was more frustrated than Braden Holtby.

"Obviously you don't want to go down three," he told reporters after the game. "That's on no one else but me. The third goal, especially the third, fourth goal, that's the difference in the game. I thought we played a really strong game against a really good team. We should have got a better result and that's on me why we didn't."

Tampa scored three goals in the first off of only eight shots. For the game, the Lightning managed to pierce Holtby four times off of only 19 shots.

RELATED: WHY THE CAPS LOST TO THE LIGHTNING

Frustration seemed to boil over on the fourth goal when a normally stoic Holtby was visibly upset after allowing Nikita Kucherov to beat him on a breakaway in a play similar to what we saw in the All-Star Game.

See for yourself:

"The key to getting better is learning from your mistakes and obviously I didn't do that," Holtby said. "I was just trying to play it patient. I wasn't trying to cheat towards that move and he came at it a different way. That's on me for not recognizing it. That's not a goal I can give up in that situation after our team battled the way they did, especially in the third."

The frustration Holtby feels likely is not the result of one goal, but the culmination of a recent slump that continues to plague the Vezina winner.

Holtby has lost four straight starts and has given up at least four goals in each of those games.

While Holtby was quick to take the blame for Tuesday's loss, head coach Barry Trotz was quick to defend his netminder.

"No one takes the loss," he said. "We all take a loss. I take a loss, the group takes a loss and Braden's part of the group. ... He's had a little tough stretch. It's no different than, we've got guys that haven't scored in 15, 20 games. It's no different than a player."

The challenge now is overcoming that slump.

For a slumping skater, Trotz could try different line combinations or play someone in different situations over the course of the game. Getting a starting goalie out of a slump, however, is more difficult. Most of the work has to be done in practice with the hope that it will carry over into the next game.

"You analyze how the goals are going in, what you're doing differently," Holtby said. "There's always some stuff that you can't control and stuff that you can and it's focusing on those contrallables that you can make a difference at. Like the first goal in Chicago, the last two goals here, those are goals that I could and should stop. You get to practice the next day and you focus on that and work hard until you figure it out so you don't do it again."

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-LIGHTNING

Part of the problem in Washington is that team defense is the Caps' biggest weakness. For most of the season, and even in years past, Holtby has made up for much of the team's mistakes on the backend. Now that he is slumping those mistakes become much more glaring and costly.

"The goaltenders in this league are erasers," Trotz said.

Lately, Holtby has not been able to erase those mistakes.

But the team has already moved to address the defense. Brian MacLellan added a puck-moving defenseman in Michal Kempny to help the team get the puck out of the defensive zone more quickly. Waiving Taylor Chorney could also signify another move may be coming before Monday's trade deadline.

As for Trotz, even during the slump, he made clear his confidence in Holtby has not wavered.

"He has been a rock since the day I've been here the last four years and he's been an elite goaltender and I look at him that way."

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2018 Olympic Hockey Results: Czech Republic eliminate U.S. men in shootout winner

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USA Today Sports

2018 Olympic Hockey Results: Czech Republic eliminate U.S. men in shootout winner

GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Kouka scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation for the Czech Republic, which was fresher after winning its group and getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The U.S. looked fatigued after facing Slovakia in the qualification round and was outshot 29-20.

Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored for the U.S, which again was led by its youngest players, including speedster Troy Terry. U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shotoout, while Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.

Koukal was the only player to score in overtime. Chris Bourque, Ryan Donato, Marc Arcobello, Terry and Bobby Butler couldn't beat Francouz.

RELATED: OVECHKIN HAS LITTLE DESIRE TO WATCH 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS