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Pregame primer: Caps look to stay on a roll


Pregame primer: Caps look to stay on a roll

News, notes and quotes as the Capitals (3-1-0, 6 points) begin a three-game road trip tonight (8:30 p.m. pregame, CSN) against the Calgary Flames (1-4-0, 2 points) at Scotiabank Saddledome:

Where they stand: The Caps are coming off a four-game homestand that ended with identical 4-1 victories over the Blackhawks and Hurricanes. The Flames are in the middle of three straight home games. They have lost three straight to the Blues, Jets and Oilers by a combined score of 12-6.

Chasing 900: Alex Ovechkin is one point away from hitting the 900 mark for his career. He has 478 goals and 421 assists and has scored a goal in three straight games. Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Ovechkin has posted 137 more goals and 46 more points than any other player. Only four players have scored more goals (475) in their first 10 seasons than Ovechkin (Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull).

Chasing Kono: Nicklas Backstrom needs one goal to pass Steve Konowalchuk (146) for 14th place on the Caps’ all-time goals list.

Calgary connections – Jay Beagle, a native of Calgary, played two seasons for the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Junior Hockey League from 2003-05. In 122 games he earned 107 points (38 goals, 69 assists) and 214 penalty minutes. Karl Alzner played in parts of five seasons for the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, registering 117 points (19 goals, 98 assists) in 260 games from 2003-08.

RELATED: Capitals don't mind carrying 23 players ... for now

Mirror image: Look for the Caps’ lines and defense pairings to look exactly the way they did on Saturday night when Nicklas Backstrom centered a second line with Maercus Johansson and Justin Williams, and rookie Chandler Stephenson centered a fourth line with left wing Brooks Laich and right wing Andre Burakovsky. Caps coach Barry Trotz said he may move Burakovsky up to the second line in place of Williams or on the top line in place of T.J. Oshie on occasion, especially after Williams and Oshie are on the penalty kill.

“Burt’s pretty good offensively,” Trotz said. “He can move up a little bit. He’s going to be a little bit of a swing guy for a little bit here. When I need speed I can move him up. I’d like to get Osh down from 22 to 24 minutes. It’s too much for a forward. I’d like to get him around 20 or under.”

Oshie logged 24:40 against the Sharks and 21:45 in the Caps’ season opener.

Brotherly love: Alzner said the Caps’ 5-0 loss to the Sharks last week might have been just what the Caps needed early just two games into the season.

“Everybody was feeling extremely confident and it was good to get a reality check to let us know we haven’t accomplished anything yet,” Alzner said. “The team looks good on paper but we needed to know we’re in a fight and there are a lot of good teams out there.”

Alzner said the Caps are excited to get away on their first road trip of the season.

“Usually we get a day off in a city and go for lunch and dinner,” he said. “We’ll get to see how everybody is when they’re away from the house. We start jabbing each other more and start to see the brotherly love coming out.”

Here are projected lineups for tonight:


Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Brooks Laich - Chandler Stephenson - Andre Burakovsky

Defense pairings

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Dmitry Orlov -Taylor Chorney


Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Chris Brown (hand)

Scratches: Michael LattaNate SchmidtStanislav Galiev


Forward lines

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Michael Frolik

Beau Bennett - Mikael Backlund – Jir Hudler

Brandon Bollig – Matt Stajan –Josh Jooris

Micheal Ferland –Joe Colborne – David Jones

Defense pairings

Mark Giordano – Dougie Hamilton

Kris Russell – Dennis Wideman

Brett Kulak – Deryk Engelland


Kari Ramo (starter) – Jonas Hiller

MORE CAPITALS: Hendricks placed on IR, will miss Friday's game against Caps

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Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal


Caps make second blue line addition, acquire Jakub Jerabek from Montreal

The Capitals continued to retool their scuffling blue line on Wednesday, acquiring 26-year-old defenseman Jakub Jerabek from Montreal in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

The move comes a couple of days after GM Brian MacLellan dealt a conditional third-round selection to Chicago for swift skating Michal Kempny.

Both Jerabek and Kempny are left shot, puck-moving defensemen who move well and make crisp outlet passes. Both also hail from the Czech Republic.


The team sees Jerabek as a No. 5 or 6, I’m told.

On Wednesday, the Caps also officially said goodbye to Taylor Chorney, who was claimed off waivers by Columbus. Chorney will report to the Blue Jackets.

The Caps were off on Wednesday as they made their way Florida for Thursday night’s meeting with the Panthers, so it’s unclear how Coach Barry Trotz intends to deploy his new defensemen.

But it’s probably safe to assume that Kempny will move into a spot within the top four with John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.


That figures to leave Brooks Orpik and Jerabek on the third pair, while rookies Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey jockey for position as the next man up.

Kempny is expected to make his Caps’ debut on Thursday night.

Is the Caps’ D corps better? Well, that remains to be seen. But it had become clear to MacLellan and Co. in recent weeks that the status quo was not going to cut it. This month, in fact, the team has allowed 39 goals in 10 games. Only the Rangers (40) have allowed more in the same span.

With the trade deadline looming next Monday, the Caps now have roughly $617,000 in cap space, according to, and are at the roster maximum of 23 players. So they would need to make a move in order to add another body.

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NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

NHL Trade Tracker 2018: Latest deadline rumors, deals

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline is nearly here, marking the final point in the season teams can make major shakeups before preparing for the stretch run and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 2018 NHL Trade Deadline takes place a week earlier than in 2017, and teams have until 3:00 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon, February 26 to make their final pre-deadline deals. That being said, the trade deadline is not the end of player movement in 2018, but signifies the end of the open trade window.

But with less than w eek left, the trade rumors are swirling, with teams putting out feelers and reaching out to potential trade partners.

The Capitals started the trade deadline period a week early, with a minor trade on Monday and another on Wednesday.



February 21: TRADE — The Montreal Canadiens trade D Jakub Jerabek to the Washington Capitals for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 21: RUMOR — The Columbus Blue Jackets have shown interest in acquiring Artem Anisimov from the Chicago Blackhawks, a team attempting a major rebuild toward the end of the 2017-18 season.

February 20: TRADE — The Toronto Maple Leafs trade C Erif Fehr to the San Jose Sharks for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

February 20: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators are looking to deal D Erik Karlsson and C Bobby Ryan. The Sens have already begun to enter "tank" mode. Moving Karlsson and/or Ryan would make it all but official.

February 20: TRADE — The New York Rangers trade D Nick Holden to the Boston Bruins for D Rob O'Gara and a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

February 19: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. (TRADE ANALYSIS)

February 19: RUMOR — The Anaheim Ducks look to be targeting Vancouver Canucks LW Thomas Vanek, but the Canucks may 'kick tires" on a potential trade if the return isn't right. 

February 19: TRADE — The Detroit Red Wings trade G Petr Mrazek to the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 19: RUMOR — The Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in pursuing speedy New York Rangers RW Michael Grabner.

February 17: RUMOR — The Ottawa Senators' fire sale continues to heat up. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in Senators RW Mike Hoffman and C Derick Brassard.

February 15: TRADE — Toronto Maple Leafs trade RW Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

February 15: TRADE — The Chicago Blackhawks trade D Ville Pokka to the Ottawa Senators for LW Chris DiDomenico.

February 13: RUMOR — New York Rangers LW Rick Nash is rumored to be a major trade target for virtually every team within playoff reach. The Nashville Predators have been rumored to be the favorites for the former No. 1 overall draft pick.

February 13: TRADE — The Los Angeles Kings trade RW Marian Gaborik and C Nick Shore to the Ottawa Senators for D Dion Phaneuf and C Nate Thompson.