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Tom Wilson could face suspension after Caps victory over Ottawa

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Tom Wilson could face suspension after Caps victory over Ottawa

Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators Wednesday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: Michael Latta enjoyed the first two-point game of his NHL career, scoring the game’s first goal on a breakaway and assisting on John Carlson’s sixth goal of the season on a nice feed from Justin Williams. Braden Holtby turned aside 26 of 27 shots to earn his league-leading 20th victory. Holtby improved to 12-0-1 in his last 13 starts.

What it means: The Caps (22-6-2, 46 points) moved three points ahead of the Montreal Canadiens atop the Eastern Conference and four points ahead of the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division. The Caps are two points behind the NHL-leading Dallas Stars, who have played one more game. 

Wilson may face suspension: Caps right wing Tom Wilson received a match penalty and automatic review by the league on a hit he made on Curtis Lazar with 4:40 remaining in the third period. Wilson was tracking back into his defensive zone when he lined up Lazar with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. The puck was on Lazar’s stick at the time of the check, but it was a blindside hit and Wilson could face suspension. The Senators scored on the power play when Bobby Ryan pushed a rebound past Braden Holtby with 4:14 to play, but Holtby shut the door in the final minutes.

Latta offense: Latta was a healthy scratch in each of the Caps’ previous two games. This is the first time in his NHL career that he has scored more than one goal in a season. He once netted 52 goals and 119 points in 73 games with the Waterloo Wolves. Latta’s breakaway goal 14:06 into the first period was a beauty. Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov banked a hard pass off the boards and Latta won a race to the puck, keeping his head up and beating Andrew Hammond with a wrist shot just under the crossbar.

MORE CAPITALS: LEONSIS WILLING TO TAKE RISK ON WORLD CUP

Thanks, Willy: Justin Williams played a big role in the Caps’ second goal, which came on a delayed penalty with 5:43 gone in the second period. Williams drew a hooking call, but maintained control of the puck and patiently waited to find Carlson with a cross-ice pass. Carlson one-timed a snap shot past Hammond for his sixth goal of the season.

About time: Hammond lost in regulation for the first time this season (2-1-2) and for just the second time in his NHL career (22-2-4). Hammond had missed the previous 15 games because of a concussion and took a hard shot by Carlson off his mask about 4 minutes into the game.

Approaching milestone: Jason Chimera played in his 899th NHL game. Nicklas Backstrom remains one point shy of 600. His next point will move him past Michal Pivonka and into fourth on the Caps’ all-time list. 

How ‘bout them old/new threads?: The Caps broke out their new third jerseys, which looked very much like the ones they wore in 1993-94. The jerseys feature blue and white stars on the sleeves and pant legs, along with very cool plain white shoulders.

Look ahead: The Caps have an 11:30 a.m. practice scheduled for Thursday. They return to action Friday night at home against the Lightning, who are also expected to practice at Kettler on Thursday. They finish up their pre-Christmas schedule with visits to Manhattan on Sunday and Raleigh on Monday for games against the Rangers and Hurricanes. 

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

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

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks 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-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30

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

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

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - 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: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME?

The Capitals-Blackhawks 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-BLACKHAWKS 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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NHL Awards tracker: How Malkin is helping Ovechkin's case for the Hart

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: How Malkin is helping Ovechkin's case for the Hart

A week by week look at where the race for the major individual NHL awards stands and which Caps could be in contention.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been red-hot as of late and so has Evgeni Malkin. In his last nine games, Malkin has tallied a whopping 11 goals and 17 points. His current run has some people talking about him contending for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player.

But if you want to talk about Malkin for the Hart, you have to talk about Alex Ovechkin as well.

Malkin has 66 points this season, Ovechkin has 65. Even with his impressive goal run of late, Malkin still trails Ovechkin in the goal-scoring race 34-32. What's more, Ovechkin's Capitals still hold a three-point lead over Pittsburgh with two games in hand in the Metropolitan Division.

Granted all of this could change by next week. Perhaps Malkin will pass Ovechkin in goals or the Penguins will pass the Caps in the standings which will change the conversation. Until then, however, there's no way to push Malkin's Hart candidacy without thinking about Ovechkin. What he is doing at the age of 32 with a Capitals team in which no one really knew what to expect is more impressive than what the 31-year-old Malkin is doing with players like Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby with the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is third among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With two rookies on the blue line and an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Braden Holtby

In contention for: Vezina

Holtby is on pace to be a 40-win goalie for the fourth consecutive season. He would be the first goalie in NHL history to accomplish that feat.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

If Malkin is a Hart candidate, so is Ovechkin who has done more with less in Washington this season.

Barry Trotz

In contention for: Jack Adams

The Caps still hold a three-point lead in the Metropolitan Division despite having two rookies on the blue line, dealing with more injuries than they have seen in years and down offensive years for some of its top players. Trotz deserves a lot of credit for that.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!