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Trotz unhappy with first coach's challenge


Trotz unhappy with first coach's challenge

Capitals coach Barry Trotz had his first opportunity at a coach’s challenge go against him on Friday night and he wasn’t happy about it.

With 5:15 remaining and the Caps holding a 2-0 lead on the Columbus Blue Jackets, a mad scramble in front of Braden Holtby’s crease resulted in Matt Calvert roofing a shot into the half-guarded net.

A goal was called on the ice, but replays seemed to indicate Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner interfered with Holtby in the crease moments before the goal.

So Trotz, who had a timeout in his pocket, used it on the coach’s challenge.

“We all said, ‘I think that’s interference,’” Trotz said following the 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets. “And then we got the word from our war room, if you will. Everybody was here for the San Jose goal that got called off, and if that’s called off, then (Calvert’s goal) is definitely goalie interference.”

Trotz was referring to an Oct. 13 goal by Dmitry Orlov that was disallowed because of Jay Beagle's interference with Sharks goalie Martin Jones. Those replays showed Beagle barely grazing the arm of Jones as Orlov’s shot soared into the net.

This time, at least in the opinion of Trotz, there was more contact between Jenner and Holtby.

“I look at it and their guy (Jenner) basically doesn’t allow Holtby to make the save,” Trotz said. “And so (Holtby) sort of gets split apart a little bit and therefor he’s not able to make a second or third save.

“Then Willy (Tom Wilson) comes in and bumps (Jenner) a little bit and the player is still in (Holtby’s) face. If it doesn’t allow him to play goal, I’m told it’s not a goal. They’ll have to give us clarification. We didn’t get anything from the referees.”

Trotz said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan would “probably” call the NHL’s office to get clarification on why the goal was allowed to stand.

 “It’s a good rule and it’s in place for a purpose,” Trotz said. “I may not agree with it but we battled through it and won. I just felt bad for Holts. I thought he deserved a shutout.”

Holtby, who finished with 29 saves in the win, was not nearly as worked up over the call but agreed with his coach.

“We’d obviously like to see it (overturned) which we thought it should have been,” Holtby said. “But at the same time it gave us a chance to work on our 6-on-5 (after the Blue Jackets pulled goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky) and I thought we did a very good job of that.”

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons the Caps beat the Sabres

The Caps could not shake Buffalo for two periods, but a dominant finish on Saturday helped them pull away for a 5-1 win. Here's how they finally put away the Sabres.

A quick start

Strong starts go a long way towards helping a team in the middle of a slump. It's a confidence boost for a group in desperate need of one and the Caps got that boost on Saturday from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov used his wheels to zip in behind the defense and score just 50 seconds into the game. Washington led 1-0 at the end of the first, just the second time in 19 games they have held a lead after the opening 20 minutes.


Andre Burakovsky snapping a second period slump

It looked in the second period like the Caps were caught trying to protect the lead again, but Andre Burakovsky woke the team back up with his incredible highlight end-to-end goal. It really looked like Buffalo was going to tie the game at one, but instead, Burakovsky extended the lead to two. Going end to end the way he did shows a player who is starting to play with some confidence, something Burakovsky has lacked for much of the season.

Ovechkin's two-goal third period

Buffalo would not go away. Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board just 14 seconds into the third period and suddenly the Caps found themselves in a one-goal game again. But Ovechkin ended any hopes for the comeback as he struck in the top corner of the net on the power play from the office. He would later add a deflection goal to extend the lead to 5-1, giving a scuffling Washington team the dominant win they so sorely needed.

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3 stars of the game: Caps erupt in 3rd for dominant win over Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps erupt in 3rd for dominant win over Sabres

The Capitals needed a win in the worst way and they got one, dispatching the Buffalo Sabres in dominating fashion with a 5-1 win.

Washington was locked in a tight game leading 2-0 heading into the third period when Sam Reinhart scored just 14 seconds into the period to pull Buffalo to within one. The Caps then slammed the door shut, scoring three unanswered goals to put away the Sabres.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Alex Ovechkin: This was career game No. 983 for Ovechkin, tying him for the franchise record for most games played with Calle Johansson. Ovechkin very fittingly celebrated the occasion with two goals. The first came on a power play goal from the office, but there was no need for a one-timer on this one. The Sabres gave him all the time he needed to aim up the shot and wrist it into the top corner.

He added a second goal late off a deflection from a John Carlson shot.

2. Evgeny Kuznetsov: To say the Caps have struggled at the start of games would be an understatement. In the last 18 games, Washington has held the lead after the first period only once. Kuznetsov made sure this game started off on the right foot as he scored just 50 seconds into the game. He turned on the jets in the neutral zone to turn the edge on Jason Pominville then easily skated around a weak, ill-advised challenge from Robin Lehner before flinging the puck into the yawning net.

It was the fastest goal to start a game by the Caps this season. It was just the start of what would be a four-point night for the Caps' center as he added three assists.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky had the highlight of the game with his end-to-end goal in the second period to put Washington up 2-0. He looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he launched himself from the defensive zone, streaked down the center of the ice and in on net to slide the puck through the Lehner's five-hole.

Look how Burakovsky was able to slice through the Sabres' defense. Buffalo had him surrounded, but his speed caught the Sabres off-guard and they were not able to recover in time to actually slow him down.