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Ovechkin scores twice, 499th career goal lifts Caps to OT win


Ovechkin scores twice, 499th career goal lifts Caps to OT win

NEW YORK - Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ wild 4-3 overtime win over the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden:

How it happened: Nicklas Backstrom tied the score with 5.7 seconds remaining in regulation and Alex Ovechkin won it 1:25 into overtime with his second goal of the game, breezing past Rick Nash and muscling a shot through defenseman Ryan McDonagh and goalie Henrik Lundqvist to give the Caps their third straight win. Justin Williams also scored for the Caps in the second period. The Caps had a 2-0 lead heading into the third period. But the Rangers rallied with three goals on their first seven shots of the third period -- one each by Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Viktor Stalberg. That led to Backstrom’s last seconds heroics

What it means: The Caps are now 22-0-1 after leading through two periods.  They have won three straight and improved their league-leading record to 31-7-3 for 65 points. It is the best first half they’ve had in their 42-year history and are on pace 130 points, nine more than their last Presidents’ Trophy season in 2009-10.

Ovi one away: Alex Ovechkin received a gift of a goal with 15 seconds remaining in the opening period when Dan Girardi’s pass intended for Dominic Moore landed on his stick for an easy put back, giving him 498 NHL goals in 800 NHL games. He made it 499 with a mad rush in overtime.

Schmidtuation: Just before Ovechkin’s goal, Derek Stepan had a chance to win it, but a combined stop by Braden Holtby and Nate Schmidt thwarted his rebound attempt.

Look ahead: The Caps are right back in action Sunday night when they return home to face the Ottawa Senators (6:30 p.m. pregame, CSN). They will follow with three days between games, leading up to Thursday’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks.

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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.