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Trotz, Capitals should feast on Game 7 matchups

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Trotz, Capitals should feast on Game 7 matchups

News, notes and everything else you need for tonight’s win-or-go-home Game 7 between the Capitals and Islanders at VerizonCenter. Catch the hour-long pregame show beginning at 6:30 on CSN:

Matchup heaven: If there is one tactical advantage to having a Game 7 on home ice, it’s the home coach’s ability to have the last line change. In other words, if the Islanders line up for a faceoff with their third defense pairing of Matt Donovan [one career playoff game] and Scott Mayfield [one career playoff game] you can bet you’ll see the Caps’ top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward.

“We’ll see,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz. “For the most part it’s been a lot of head-to-head stuff -- top players against top players.”

In the Islanders’ 3-1 win in Game 6 on Saturday, Isles head coach Jack Capuano did a nice job of getting Nick Leddy [28:59] and Johnny Boychuk [27:00] out against Ovechkin [19:21] and Backstrom [21:30], limiting them to a combined four shots.

In his last three Game 7s, Ovechkin has no points, while Backstrom has no points in his last five Game 7s.

Caps promise more grit: Curtis Glencross will return for the Caps after three games as a healthy scratch. It will be the first Game 7 of his nine-year career.

“The veteran that he is, the good pro that he is, he can be a difference maker for us,” Trotz said. “He’s a guy that’s scored big goals. He can play a gritty game and can score some goals. I expect him to be a good player for us tonight. I just thought his game fell off. He saw it and he knew it.”

Glencross will play on a fourth line with Brooks Laich and Tom Wilson and Trotz said he’ll try to utilize Wilson more than he did in Game 6 when the rambunctious 21-year-old right wing saw just seven shifts and 3:41 of ice time. The Caps were outhit 46-32 in Game 6. 

MORE CAPITALS: WIN OR GO HOME

Words, words, words: Several players said they know everything they need to know about the Islanders and Trotz said there is nothing more he can tell them that they don’t already know.

“I guarantee you the New York Islanders are sick of talking about the Washington Capitals and the Washington Capitals are tired of talking about the New York Islanders,” Trotz said. “It’s time.”

Trotz said the team that can stick with its game plan the longest will prevail. As for pre-game motivational speeches, Trotz said he’ll keep that to himself.

“He’s said all he can say,” Chimera said of Trotz. “We’ve got to go out and prove it and do it. You don’t want to let your buddy down in these moments, just leave it out there.”

Who is louder? In Stanley Cup playoff history, home teams are 91-65 in Game 7s but in 2014 home teams went 1-6 in Game 7s.

The team that scores first is 115-41 all-time in Game 7s, including a 4-3 mark in 2014. Thirty-nine Game 7s have required overtime [25 percent]. Road teams have gone 20-19.

“I’d rather play at home,” Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “That’s a tough building [Nassau Coliseum] to play in on the road. They seem to get a little more energy playing in front of their crowd. I thought we built off the energy of our crowd in Game 5. We’ve been good at home. We got home ice for a reason and we want to take advantage now.”

Look ahead: The Rangers will face either the Capitals or Islanders in Game 1 of their second-round series in New York. In all likelihood the series will open on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, with Game 2 either Saturday or Sunday in New York.  

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

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

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres 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. Sabres
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-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres 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-SABRES 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-SABRES 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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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.