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Prospect Report: Hershey prospects get mentor in Scott Gomez

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Prospect Report: Hershey prospects get mentor in Scott Gomez

Hershey update: 20-13-1-5, 3rd in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 2-2-0-0

The Hershey Bears signed forward Scott Gomez to a professional tryout agreement on Thursday. The 36-year-old veteran recorded eight points in 21 games with the St. Louis Blues this season before being placed on unconditional waivers and released.

Gomez won two Stanley Cups in his career, both with the New Jersey Devils.

"Scott has been a really good pro in the league for a long time," Caps head coach Barry Trotz said. "He’s got a real high skill set. Especially at the American level, he should be able to help a [Jakub] Vrana, who should be back fairly soon here, and some of our younger people. A guy like Chandler Stephenson can learn from a Scott Gomez."

It's important to note that the deal Gomez signed is with Hershey only. He has no affiliation with the Capitals and could not be called up to the NHL. The only benefit he will bring to the Caps is as a mentor unless they offer him a contract as well.

The blue line is proving to be an important source of offense for Hershey. In the team's last four games both Connor Carrick and Christian Djoos recorded three points while Tyler Lewington chipped in another two. In today's NHL, puck-possessing, offensive defensemen are an invaluable resource and the Caps appear to have plenty of that type talent in the AHL.

Garrett Mitchell is also proving to be an important source offense by himself with five points in his last four games.

Jakub Vrana has been cleared for full-contact practice and Hershey head coach Troy Mann said he could return to action as soon as this weekend. Vrana was not in the lineup for Friday's win, however, so the wait continues.

Chandler Stephenson is expected to miss Hershey's games this weekend after suffering a setback in his recovery. He is dealing with an upper-body injury that has kept him out for six straight games.

RELATED: Trotz: Richards may be ready for Caps' debut

Other prospect notes:

The Caps have more offensive defensemen elsewhere in their system besides just Hershey as evidenced by Connor Hobbs. Hobbs is enjoying a breakout year for the Regina Pats of the WHL. The Yahoo! Sports blog Buzzing the Net recently featured Hobbs in a post about how he is hitting his stride this season. You can read it here.

Tim McGauley had a big night on Jan. 8 as he recorded two goals and two assists to help lead the Brandon Wheat Kings to the 8-1 win over Prince Albert. You can see the highlights here. His line feasted on the defense of Prince Albert all night and finished with a combined 12 points.

Goalie Vitek Vanecek was assigned back to the South Carolina Stingrays after returning from the World Juniors Championship. He served as the backup goalie for the Stingrays in Friday's game, but did not play.

Thomas DiPauli of Notre Dame tallied an assist in the Irish's win over Western Michigan on Jan. 8 that was reminiscent of the Caps' power play. The assist came on Notre Dame's sixth goal of the game. Watch it here:

Looks like he would fit right in on the Caps' power play unit.

Zach Sanford's Boston College Eagles faced Brian Pinho's Providence Friars faced off in a two-game series on Jan. 8 and 9. The Eagles got the better of Providence with a win and a tie. Sanford had three assists in the first game, but was held off the score sheet for the second. Pinho had three assists in the two games as well, but seemed to really come alive in Providence's next game against Vermont.

The Friars beat Vermont 3-1 on Friday and Pinho had a hand in each of this team's three goals with one goal and two assists on the night.

Check out the highlights here:

MORE CAPITALS: Friday Six-Pack: Richards could play this weekend

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

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

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

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

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

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

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers 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.

CAPITALS-PANTHERS OPEN THREAD

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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Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  -- The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey -- finally -- is over.

Even though they needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it.

Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout to start the Americans piling over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice.

Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation.

Hilary Knight also had a goal.

RELATED: WHICH WINTER OLYMPIANS REPRESENT THE D.M.V?

Maddie Rooney made 29 saves for the win against their archrival. The 20-year-old goalie stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.

It was sweet redemption for the 10 Americans who watched the Canadians snatch gold from their hands in 2014 at Sochi after tying it up with 54.6 seconds left in regulation and winning 3-2 in overtime.

Not only did the Americans snap the Canadians' stranglehold on Olympic gold, they ended a skid of five straight against their rival coming into this game, including a 2-1 loss to wrap up pool play a week ago.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Haley Irwin each scored goals for Canada. Agosta and Melodie Daoust scored in the shootout.

The Americans had been dominating in non-Olympic years, winning the last four and eight of the last 10 world championships, including a 3-2 overtime victory over Canada last spring.

Their domination on the world stage only made the lack of gold at the Olympics all the more noticeable, and Canada has been in their way since losing the inaugural gold in Nagano. Canada had won 24 straight Olympic games to go along with four consecutive gold medals. It's a streak of success in a women's team sport second only to the United States' basketball team's current streak of six straight gold.

This was the eighth time these North American rivals met in the Olympics and the fifth with gold on the line. None of the previous seven were decided by more than two goals.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber went with the 20-year-old Rooney in net for the biggest game of her career, but she was the goalie for each of the three games the Americans beat Canada last fall during their pre-Olympic exhibition tour, including Four Nations Cup title in November.

Canada had Shannon Szabados, 31, in goal for her third Olympic gold medal game, and her teammates made her job very easy by keeping the puck in front of Rooney for most of the first period by dictating play. The Americans couldn't use their speed or get organized even with two power plays until Sarah Nurse went in the box for interference late in the period.

Knight gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 25.4 seconds left in the first, redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin through Szabados' pads giving the Americans a jolt of energy.

That lasted only 2 minutes into the second when Irwin tipped a pass from Blayre Turnbull over Rooney's left leg for Canada. When Morin lost the puck, Melodie Daoust grabbed it and passed to Meghan Agosta who hit Poulin for the wrister into the left side of the net at 6:55 for a 2-1 lead.