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Ovechkin turns 'muffin' into first game-winner


Ovechkin turns 'muffin' into first game-winner

News and notes from the Capitals’ thrilling 3-2 comeback victory over Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night at Rogers Arena:

How it happened: With 4:55 remaining in regulation, a loooooong stretch pass from Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov to Evgeny Kuznetsov set up a 2-on-1 with Alex Ovechkin and the Caps’ 30-year-old captain flubbed a one-timer that arced over the left shoulder of Miller for the game-winner. It was Ovechkin’s fifth goal in five games this season and his first game-winner of the season.

"Lucky one," Ovechkin told reporters after the game. “We talked about our breakout, and it worked. Good pass by Kuzy, and muffin shot by me and it goes in.”

Ovechkin finished with a game-high seven shots, but it was his last one that counted most.

"He was probably not very happy with himself not getting it over the pad on those earlier," said Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who stopped 23 shots, including third-period denials of Henrik Sedin and Bo Horvat.

"He takes extreme pride in that, so you could tell he was itching to get one for us, and he does that, he scores those big goals when I thought we weren't very sharp. Your leaders, your big guys, need to come up with those big goals to turn momentum your way."

What it means: The Caps have now won four straight following a disastrous 5-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks. They moved past the Islanders and into second place in the Metro Division, with 10 points, one behind the first-place New York Rangers, who have played two more games.

Checking/scoring line: The Caps’ third line of Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson was given the assignment of shutting down the Canucks’ top line of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Radim Vrbata. They did at even strength (Vrbata scored against the Caps’ top line and Henrik Sedin scored on the power play) while also contributing two goals, one each by Chimera and Beagle. Beagle’s goal, his first of the season, tied the score 5:42 into the third period.

"It was really the Beagle line, they were the ones that put the work boots on and just went to work, and they sort of pulled the rest of the group into the fight," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "We were able to tie it up and then cash in on a controlled breakout and two skilled players making a pretty good play … but today we won because of the Beagle line."

Beagle, who had a career-high 10 goals and 10 assists last season, said the Caps cannot view themselves as a two-line team.

"When you’ve got powerhouses like Ovi, [Nicklas] Backstrom, Kuznetsov and those offensive guys, we have to chip in every once in a while to get the wins," Beagle said. "We can't rely on them every night offensively, and tonight was one of those nights where the third line had to step up and produce. We play against the No.1 line on the other team and try to be that shutdown line, but we also want to contribute when we can."

What’s next: The Caps will try to complete a perfect three-game road trip tonight when they visit Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers (9 p.m., CSN). Goaltender Philipp Grubauer is scheduled to make his first start of the season.   

[RELATED: Trotz endorses Ovechkin as Hall of Famer]


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Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 73 Capitals vs. Stars Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Dallas Stars

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Stars will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Stars game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (41-24-7) take on the Stars (38-27-8) Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Stars game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Stars
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Islanders game:

Alex Ovechkin -  Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Michal Kempny - Jakub Jerabek

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Brooks Orpik (lower body injury)


The Capitals-Flyers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”