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Ovechkin discusses high hopes placed on Caps


Ovechkin discusses high hopes placed on Caps

Alex Ovechkin is having yet another incredible season. The Capitals’ 30-year-old captain leads the NHL with 39 goals and is on pace to finish with 50 or more goals for the seventh time in 11 NHL seasons.

He’s also third in the NHL with a plus-23 rating, behind only Tyler Toffoli (plus-24) and league leader Evgeny Kuznetsov (plus-31). And yet, he may not even be the Capitals’ most valuable player this season.

(Feel free to engage in that argument below).

But unlike most other seasons, Ovechkin has been asked to critique his team more often than himself this year. The Capitals (44-10-4) enter tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens (28-27-5) with more wins through 58 games than any team in NHL history.

They are also bidding to become the first team since the 1976-77 Canadiens to go an entire season without consecutive losses in regulation. That Canadiens team finished with an NHL record 132 points. Ovechkin was asked on Tuesday if he thinks it would be special for these Caps to eclipse that record.

“Yeah, of course,” Ovechkin said. “But for us it doesn’t matter how many points we’re going to have. We just have to be in first place to make sure we’re going to have home (ice) advantage. That’s the most important thing, I think.”

Ovechkin was then asked if the Capitals must wait until the playoffs for their legacy to be determined.

“We don’t talk about legacy right now,” he said. “For us it’s been two years of kind of a rebuilding process. We bring in a new coaching staff, we sign new players and our mentality and culture has changed. It’s been a good thing.”

Ovechkin shared his thoughts on a few other topics, such as:

The Caps’ commanding lead over the Rangers in the Metro Division (18 points), the Panthers in the Eastern Conference (17 points) and Stars in the NHL standings (10 points):

“Sometimes you look at the standings and think, ‘Oh, Geez, can somebody catch us or not?’ Of course it’s nice to have that kind of space between different teams because I remember last year at this time of the year, every point counted for us. We needed every point because we didn’t know if we would make the playoffs or not. Right now we feel more comfortable, obviously, and it’s helped out mentality.”

The confidence the Caps have in Braden Holtby, who leads the NHL in wins (38):

“I think Holtby and the system – how we play in the defensive zone and neutral zone – it’s helped us and helped him. Obviously, I think right now he’s the best goalie in the league and if he’s not going to win best goalie I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it would be strange. He makes unbelievable saves at the right time and the right place. He keeps us in games and his work ethic in the practices since two years ago and right now is unbelievable. You can see how he’s working and how focused he is. He’s grown up and it’s good to see.”

Whether the 2015-16 Caps will ultimately be judged on their success in the playoffs:  

“We signed very good pieces the last two years. The depth of the team is pretty high and everybody knows we’re capable of doing good things this year. Of course we can talk about, ‘Yeah we’re going to win the Stanley Cup’ and all that kind of stuff. But we aren’t going to do it if we’re not working hard on the ice.”

RELATED: Weber reacts to being traded for the first time


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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 projection: Still too close to call in the Metropolitan Division


Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 projection: Still too close to call in the Metropolitan Division

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are right around the corner and there is still a lot to be decided.

The Metropolitan Division is going to come right down to the wire as each team seemingly continues to win and put the pressure on the first place Capitals.

With just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, the playoff matchups for the first round of the NHL playoffs are still up in the air with only five points separating the top four teams in the Metro. Washington is in good position with a four-point cushion between themselves and the second place Pittsburgh Penguins. With both teams meeting on April 1, however, the Caps are still a long way off from clinching the division and earning home ice in the first round.


Metropolitan Division
1. Washington (93 points, 74 GP, 40 ROW)
W1. Philadelphia (88 points, 75 GP, 36 ROW)

2. Pittsburgh (89 points, 74 GP, 40 ROW)
3. Columbus (89 points, 75 GP, 36 ROW)

Atlantic Division
1. Tampa Bay (106 points, 74 GP, 45 ROW)
W2. New Jersey (82 points, 73 GP, 32 ROW)

2. Boston (100 points, 72 GP, 42 ROW)
3. Toronto (95 points, 74 GP, 37 ROW)

Still in the hunt:
Florida (81points, 72 GP, 34 ROW)


Washington has won only one out of four games against the Philadelphia Flyers this season. That's not an ideal first-round matchup for Washington, but there is still time for the Flyers to climb and overtake Columbus or Pittsburgh in the standings..

What seems unlikely to happen is for New Jersey or Florida to pass Philadelphia. While things remain close near the top of the standings, there seems to be a growing divide between the top-four teams in the Metropolitan Division and the two teams battling for the final remaining spot in the playoffs.

The Flyers may be in fourth place in the division, but they still boast a healthy six-point lead over the Devils who sit in the second wild card.

If we assume New Jersey and Florida will not be able to climb to any postseason position, but the second wild card, that makes the three most likely candidates to face Washington in the first round Pittsburgh, Columbus and Philadelphia.

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.