Quick Links

Trotz, Caps trying to make rest their 'weapon'


Trotz, Caps trying to make rest their 'weapon'

Midway through the Capitals’ practice on Thursday, Alex Ovechkin and Karl Alzner went hard at each other, pushing and shoving like a pair of bulls locked in a pen. After about 30 seconds, the whistle blew to end the drill. Ovechkin flexed his bicep at Alzner and smiled.

Alzner did the same and the two exchanged fist bumps.

“It was good,” Alzner said. “I tried to challenge myself. Ovi is the type of guy where if you push him a little bit he really ramps it up and pushes back. That’s when you get to feel the full effect of playing against him.

“It’s funny to see when he flexes his muscle after because even when you put everything into him he doesn’t move. It’s a good challenge.”

These days, with little practice time and three sets of back-to-back games among the final 10 of the regular season, the Capitals are trying to get the most out of their practices and that means plenty of battle drills.

“We’ve had a lot of days off lately and I know personally, one day off is good enough for me,” Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “Sometimes the more days you get off the more sluggish you get. It’s important for guys to make sure they’re in the best shape possible heading into the playoffs.”

Following their two-game trip to Pittsburgh and Ottawa, Capitals coach Barry Trotz gave the Caps the day off on Wednesday, following a pattern he’s used all season when the team has two days or more between games.

On Friday the Caps will not conduct a morning skate in Newark, which is fine with some players and not so fine with others (just ask the goalies). The Caps will also not have a morning skate on Saturday and will be given off on Easter Sunday.

“That’s what we struggle with on a daily basis,” Trotz said. “Rest is a weapon if used correctly. Rest is no good if you don’t. When we practice, practice hard. And when we don’t practice, rest.”

Having won just two of their last nine games in regulation (5-3-1) Alzner said a little energy is something the Caps need right now.  

“Today was once of the more intense practices we’ve had in a while,” he said. “You see guys battling a little more. We haven’t had many options to practice and it’s hard. You start to lose a little bit of your edge. I think today was a good day for us and the morale is really up right now.”

[RELATED: Capitals prepare for return of their 'game changer']

Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


Quick Links

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Alex Ovechkin further cemented his place in NHL history, John Carlson stayed hot and Braden Holtby was good when called upon as the Caps downed the Stars, 4-3, at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.

The victory was Washington’s fifth in the past six games. It also marked the Caps’ first win over Dallas in D.C. since 2006.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season and the 602nd of his career in the second period to give the Caps a short-lived 3-2 edge in the second period.

The goal put Ovi back atop the league as he seeks a seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. It also pushed him past Jari Karri and into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin has now victimized Kari Lehtonen 22 times, which is tied for the most goals he’s scored against a single netminder. (Henrik Lundqvist has also given up 22 goals to No. 8). Ovi also had a couple of secondary helpers.

2-John Carlson, Capitals

Carlson scored the game-winner 4:59 with left to play, blasting a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Caps ahead 4-3.

Carlson also notched an assist, which allowed him to stay even with Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg had two assists. Both players ended the game with 61 points—tied for the most among all NHL defensemen.    

3-Alexander Radulov, Stars

From his first shift, it was apparent that Radulov was determined to leave his mark on the game. And he did just that, recording a goal, an assist and boarding minor that bloodied Caps defenseman Michal Kempny. Radulov’s goal—a redirection of a John Klingberg shot—was his 26th and it evened the score, 2-2, in the second period.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.