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Prospect Report: The Jakub Vrana show


Prospect Report: The Jakub Vrana show

Hershey update: 32-15-3-7, 1st in the Atlantic Division. Last week: 2-0-0-0

There was a lot of shakeup in Hershey with trades sending both Chris Brown and Connor Carrick out of Chocolate Town.

Brown was traded to the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Bourque, brother of Chris Bourque. The 25-year-old Ryan has 10 goals and 14 assists with AHL Hartford this season, the Rangers' AHL affiliate. He has played in one NHL game in his career.

Carrick was shipped to Toronto as part of the Brooks Laich trade and is now in essentially an extended NHL tryout. Capitals general manager spoke Monday about the decision to add Carrick to the trade package saying, “They wanted a prospect back and they requested Connor Carrick. We went back and forth over whether we wanted to give him up or not. He’s been good. We like what he’s done in Hershey and we project him to play in the NHL but that’s what we had to give up to get a deal done.”

With a very deep defensive core and Madison Bowey and Chrisitan Djoos also developing in Hershey, Carrick was expendable. While he struggled to stay in the lineup with the Caps, he went immediately to the NHL with Toronto and is expected to remain with the NHL squad for the remainder of the season.

Carrick has done well thus far, dropping the gloves in his first game with the Leafs. He also tallied an assist in Wednesday's game against the Caps.

Also gone from the ranks of the Bears is veteran Scott Gomez. Gomez asked for a release from his PTO with Hershey and signed with the Ottawa Senators. With 24 points in just 18 games with the Bears, the 36-year-old Gomez showed he still had some hockey left in him. With the injury to Kyle Turris, the Senators found themselves in need of a center depth.

Despite the losses from the roster, however, the Bears kept right on rolling with two wins and overtook the Toronto Marlies for first place in the Atlantic Division.

After scoring eight goals and 10 assists in February, Riley Barber was named the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month. He celebrated with a goal and an assist in Sunday's 5-1 win over Utica.

RELATED: Updates on Schmidt, Winnik's debut and third-period dominance

No one, however, looked more impressive than Jakub Vrana. Vrana recorded one goal and three assist in the week and easily could have had more. Check out the highlights from Hershey's wins on Friday and on Sunday.

We all knew Vrana had talent, but he is really starting to take things to the next level. What was really impressive was that Vrana wasn't just making plays, he was creating them. He created opportunities both for himself and for his teammates with superb stick-handling, sharp instincts and great passes. Four points in two games is a good week's worth of work, but you can see from the highlights he could have had a lot more.

“There is a reason Vrana was a first-round draft pick," Hershey goalie Dan Ellis said of his teammate. "He has a bright future and is really just getting into his own stride now after being out for so long."

Other prospect notes:

It's playoff time in the KHL and Metallurg Magnitogorsk is moving on to the second round thanks to goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov played in four of the team's six games in the first round against Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. He posted a record of 2-2 with a .912 save percentage and 2.29 GAA.

Samsonov was in net for the series-clinching Game 6 win in which he turned aside 20 out of 22 shots. Check out the highlights:

Look how far out of the crease Samsonov comes to challenge the shooters. He's not just at the top of the crease, there are some shots where he comes all the way out of it. Even at the age of 19, he is very aggressive. He goes down to the butterfly too quickly and was burned for it on the second goal he allowed, but the poise and confidence he has shown in the playoffs is fantastic. The KHL is widely regarded as the second-best league in the world and Samsonov is fitting right in.

Regina Pats defenseman Colby Williams was out of the lineup again last week, but looks like he is nearing his return. He told the Regina Leader-Post that the doctors are allowing him to increase hockey-related activities and that he believes he will return before the end of the season which is about two weeks away.

Williams has been struggling with injury problems related to his arm all season after suffering a significant laceration in the offseason. He recently underwent another surgery to remove scar tissue from his arm and repair the nerve damage. You can bet the Caps will be watching very closely when he does return to the lineup to make sure he is still the player the team thought he was when they drafted him last season in the sixth round.

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz says it's 'awkward' passing Ron Wilson

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3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center. 

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Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

When: 5:00 p.m. ET

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

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


The Capitals (41-23-7) take on the Flyers (36-25-11) Sunday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. ET in Philadelphia.


The Capitals-Flyers 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)

4:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
4:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
5:00 p.m. — Capitals at Flyers
7:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
8:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
9:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


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.