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Ovechkin's game-winner takes down Islanders 3-2


Ovechkin's game-winner takes down Islanders 3-2

Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: Playing in his first game in eight days, Alex Ovechkin made his presence felt with a thundering game-winning slap shot with 2:40remaining in regulation. Ovechkin planted himself in the high slot and one-timed a Nicklas Backstrom feed that froze Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak for his 29th goal of the season. The Capitals carried a 2-1 lead into the third period on goals by T.J. Oshie and Andre Burakovsky, but the Islanders kept buzzing in the third period and tied the score on a goal by Josh Bailey with 5:38 gone. Bailey fought Dmitry Orlov for space in front of Braden Holtby and snapped Marek Zidlicky’s centering pass into the half-open net for his eighth goal of the season.

What it means: The Capitals are the only team in the NHL that has not lost back-to-back games in regulation this season. Their win opened up an 18-point lead on the Islanders. Braden Holtby was excellent in stopping 24 shots and benefitted by blocks from Karl Alzner and T.J. Oshie on a game-saving penalty kill.  

Bura-cuda: Andre Burakovsky picked up his ninth goal of the season and gave the Caps a 2-1 lead with 1:18 remaining in the second period. Dmitry Orlov started the play by breaking up a rush by Brock Nelson  and pushing the puck up the ice. Orlov worked a give-and-go with Jason Chimera, whose bad-angle shot squeaked through Jaro Halak, allowing Burakovsky to score on a one-handed backhand swipe at the puck. Burakovsky now has seven goals and six assists in his past 14 games and five goals in his past four games.

Nifty Nicky: Nicklas Backstrom’s first-period assist on T.J. Oshie’s 16th goal of the season was a thing of beauty. Backstrom entered the offensive zone with speed and hit the brakes on Nick Leddy, buying himself enough time to look off a covered Alex Ovechkin and drop a pass for a late-arriving Oshie, who blasted a one-timer past Jaroslav Halak. The assist was Backstrom’s 30th of the season and extended his points streak to five games. He has 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in his last 13 games.

Hickey on Wilson: Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey is not known for his physical play, but after getting helped off the ice after an illegal hit by Marcus Johansson on Jan. 7, he wanted someone on the Caps to pay and he chose Tom Wilson. Midway through the first period Hickey drove Wilson’s jaw into the boards, then crosschecked him in the face while Wilson was on the ice. Hickey was given an elbowing  minor but the Caps failed to convert.

Courage: In tribute to the men and women of the armed forces, Caps goaltender Braden Holtby wore a goalie mask with the word “Courage” etched along his chin line, replacing the word “Capitals.” Holtby went back to his old red, white and blue Capitals mask in the second period.

Watchful eyes: Six NHL teams were represented in the press box for the game: the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers.

What’s next: The Caps are scheduled to practice at 11:30 at Kettler on Friday, followed by afternoon games against the Devils on Saturday and Flyers on Sunday.

MORE CAPITALS: T.J. Oshie scores on beautiful pass by Nicklas Backstrom

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Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.