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Second thoughts on Holtby, Ovi, Chorney, Nisky versus Chicago

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Second thoughts on Holtby, Ovi, Chorney, Nisky versus Chicago

Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals enjoy an unexpected day off following their 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at Verizon Center:

Holt-beast: Braden Holtby stopped 26 of 27 shots to earn his second win of the season. He had to be at his best in the first two periods when the Blackhawks rebounded from a slow start (outshot 5-0) by firing 20 of the game’s next 30 shots.

“It’s the same thing every night from him,” Marcus Johansson said. “You can’t ask for a better goalie.”

Closing in on 900: Alex Ovechkin’s third-period goal was his second of the season and 477th of his career, leaving him two points short of 900 and 23 goals shy of 500.  Of course, if you count playoff scoring, he’s already got 513 goals and 968 points as a Capital.

Speaking of Ovi: Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen joked before the game, “Why couldn’t Ovi oversleep today? He’s going to be flying tonight.” With that in mind, here are three songs we would have liked to here last night:

“I’m Wide Awake” – Katy Perry

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham

Wake Up (Ovi ), I Think I’ve Got Something To Say To You” – Rod Stewart

I-Carly: Don’t look now but Caps defenseman John Carlson is tied for third among NHL defensemen with four points in his first three games. He’s trailing only Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (7 points in 5 games) and Colorado’s Francois Beauchemin (5 in 3). Carlson’s two-point night against the Hawks marked his 34th career multi-point game. He also led all skaters in ice time (25:01).

Master of champions: The Capitals have won five straight home games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, including the Hawks’ last visit to D.C. on Jan. 1 at Nats Park.

Staying invisible: Caps defenseman Taylor Chorney played a quietly effective game in his Caps debut alongside Dmitry Orlov. In 12:41 of ice time, all at even strength, Chorney was even on the polus-minus ledger, blocked two shots and recorded two hits and one takeaway.

“I thought he was real steady,” Trotz said. “That’s what you want in that pair. He made all the right plays. There’s wasn’t any time I said under my breath, ‘What are you doing?’ And that’s a good sign for that pair.”

Nisky business: Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen scored his second goal of the season Thursday night and now has three points in his first three games. Last season Niskanen didn’t score his second goal until Dec. 9 in his 27th game of the season. 

In fact, Niskanen already is halfway to his goal total of last season (4). His offensive numbers should continue to climb with his increased offensive role following the departure of Mike Green, who has one assist in his first three games with the Red Wings.

What's next: The Caps have a 10:15 morning skate on Saturday at Kettler, then face off against the 0-3-0 Carolina Hurricanes, who are in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings.

MORE CAPITALS: Friday Six-Pack: First Q&A of the Capitals 2015-16 season!

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Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 60: Capitals vs. Lightning Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals (34-18-7) take on the Lightning (39-17-3) Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME ON?

The Capitals-Lightning 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)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

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

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Lightning 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
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING GAME?

The Capitals-Lightning 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.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-LIGHTNING 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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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE