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Preparing for a crucial Game 6


Preparing for a crucial Game 6

News, notes and quotes as the Caps prepare for tonight’s crucial Game 6 against the New York Rangers holding a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on CSN):

Answering the call: The Caps are 5-1 in the Phone Booth during the post-season, including five straight wins on home ice. They have outscored opponents 15-10 at home during the playoffs and are a perfect 9-for-9 on the penalty kill.

Goaltender Braden Holtby is 4-1 with one shutout, a 1.20 GAA and a .950
save percentage at home this postseason and is 7-2 with two shutouts, a 1.27 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage in his playoff career at
Verizon Center against the Rangers.

Jay Beagle has five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in six games at home
during the 2015 playoffs and Evgeny Kuznetsov (3 goals,
1 assist) and Jason Chimera (2 goals, 2 assists) have each earned
four points in six home games.

Chances are …: Every one of the Rangers’ 10 playoff games has been decided by one goal. Nine of the Caps’ 1`2 playoff games have been decided by one goal. “There’s not much separating the two teams,” The Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s going to be execution or lack of execution that’s going to end up in the back of your net.”
Holtbeast: In his 11 playoff games this spring Holtby has registered one shutout, a 1.51 GAA and a .951 save percentage ranking first in the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage (minimum 5 games]. As of now, Holtby’s .951 save percentage is the highest single-postseason save percentage in NHL history (minimum 10 games) and his 1.51 goal-against average ranks fourth in NHL playoff history.

Game 6 heroics: Alex Ovechkin has 5 goals and 4 assists in eight career Game 6s, while Nicklas Backstrom has 1 goal and 6 assists in eight career Game 6s.
Bouncing back: The Capitals have yet to suffer consecutive losses during the playoffs and have gone 25 games [March 11-13] since losing back-to-back games.

On the kill: The Capitals have killed 24 of 25 penalties in the post-season, ranking first in the NHL in penalty kill percentage. The Caps have killed 10 of 11 penalties against the Rangers.

Different heroes: The Capitals have had a different player score the game-winning goal in each of their seven wins this postseason (Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Joel Ward, Jay Beagle, Andre Burakovsky). “I don’t think either side really cares where it comes from at this time of the season,” said Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik, who is looking for his first goal of the season.
Needing more: Trotz said he’s like to see the Caps’ top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Ward get back on the score sheet. They haven’t since Game 2. He said he’d also like to see the second line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera pick up the pace. “They’ll need to get going again,” Trotz said.
Tough out: Orpik saw the Rangers storm back from a 3-1 series deficit against his Penguns last season and know they will be difficult to eliminate.
“We know who we’re up against,” he said. “They had the best record in league I don’t think anybody anticipated it being easy.”

[RELATED Caps excited for chance to close at home

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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.