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Trotz sends strong message to team by pulling Holtby


Trotz sends strong message to team by pulling Holtby

Braden Holtby has had a Vezina-caliber season thus far, but the first half of Friday's game against Tampa Bay was not among his best. The Caps netminder gave up three goals in just 12 shots to the Lightning, prompting Barry Trotz to pull Holtby in favor of Philipp Grubauer. In so doing, Trotz hoped to send a strong message, but not to Holtby.

"We've got so used to Braden being so strong for us we tend to be a little loose sometimes and he's been erasing our mistakes," Trotz said.  "I was sort of making a statement, ok, enough's enough.

"He's been our MVP from game one on. Why are we doing this to him? So I pulled him out and put Grubi in."

RELATED: Why it was deja vu all over again for Grubauer

Even with Friday's game, Holtby has registered a .931 save percentage and leads the NHL with a 1.92 GAA. There have been a number of games in which he has carried the Caps to a victory despite the team being outplayed by the opposition. Trotz wanted to make sure the team knew Friday that this time, they were on their own.

"I told them between periods. I said, let's get one thing straight, this is not a reflection on Braden's play. This was on everyone else's play."

"I think that that was just kind of a message to us that Trotzie's not going to let him bail us out tonight, we're going to have to do it ourselves," Taylor Chorney said.

It's a message the team heard loud and clear as they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win 5-3. It was the first time the Caps had erased a three-goal deficit to win in regulation since Oct. 16, 2008.

For his part, Holtby understood that the 3-0 deficit was not all on his shoulders.

"It's a little easier to move forward when I can look at the film and know those goals, there's not much I can really do on them," Holtby said. "They happen. It's just that fact that you want to do more. You want to help the team a bit more."

Those games will happen. The important thing for the Caps, who have looked dependent on their netminder in recent weeks, is that they showed they can win even when Holtby's not at his best.

Notes from practice:

Knicked up? Alex Ovechkin left practice early after getting "knicked up" per the team, but it does not appear to be serious and every indication is that Ovechkin's status for Sunday's game is not in doubt.

Maintenance: Justin Williams had a maintenance day on Saturday and did not practice. Stanislav Galiev skated in his place on the second line.

MORE CAPITALS: Refusing to lose: Caps stun Lightning with emotional comeback

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

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

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


The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.


The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30


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

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

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


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.


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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Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

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Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  -- The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey -- finally -- is over.

Even though they needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it.

Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout to start the Americans piling over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice.

Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation.

Hilary Knight also had a goal.


Maddie Rooney made 29 saves for the win against their archrival. The 20-year-old goalie stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.

It was sweet redemption for the 10 Americans who watched the Canadians snatch gold from their hands in 2014 at Sochi after tying it up with 54.6 seconds left in regulation and winning 3-2 in overtime.

Not only did the Americans snap the Canadians' stranglehold on Olympic gold, they ended a skid of five straight against their rival coming into this game, including a 2-1 loss to wrap up pool play a week ago.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Haley Irwin each scored goals for Canada. Agosta and Melodie Daoust scored in the shootout.

The Americans had been dominating in non-Olympic years, winning the last four and eight of the last 10 world championships, including a 3-2 overtime victory over Canada last spring.

Their domination on the world stage only made the lack of gold at the Olympics all the more noticeable, and Canada has been in their way since losing the inaugural gold in Nagano. Canada had won 24 straight Olympic games to go along with four consecutive gold medals. It's a streak of success in a women's team sport second only to the United States' basketball team's current streak of six straight gold.

This was the eighth time these North American rivals met in the Olympics and the fifth with gold on the line. None of the previous seven were decided by more than two goals.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber went with the 20-year-old Rooney in net for the biggest game of her career, but she was the goalie for each of the three games the Americans beat Canada last fall during their pre-Olympic exhibition tour, including Four Nations Cup title in November.

Canada had Shannon Szabados, 31, in goal for her third Olympic gold medal game, and her teammates made her job very easy by keeping the puck in front of Rooney for most of the first period by dictating play. The Americans couldn't use their speed or get organized even with two power plays until Sarah Nurse went in the box for interference late in the period.

Knight gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 25.4 seconds left in the first, redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin through Szabados' pads giving the Americans a jolt of energy.

That lasted only 2 minutes into the second when Irwin tipped a pass from Blayre Turnbull over Rooney's left leg for Canada. When Morin lost the puck, Melodie Daoust grabbed it and passed to Meghan Agosta who hit Poulin for the wrister into the left side of the net at 6:55 for a 2-1 lead.