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Updates on Johansson, Beagle and ... chasing history


Updates on Johansson, Beagle and ... chasing history

Quick hits from today’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex:

No Marcus: Capitals center Marcus Johansson (flu symptoms) arrived at Kettler Tuesday morning but was sent home to rest and is questionable for Wednesday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

“We’ll see where he is (Wednesday),” Caps coach Barry Trotz said. “He’ll probably skate and we’ll make that decision. It’s just the flu, it’s going around right now. The more we can keep him away the better.”

Beagle-mania: Center Jay Beagle (hand fracture) took turns with Michael Latta skating on a fourth line with left wing Brooks Laich and right wing Stan Galiev.

Beagle will not play Wednesday but will be re-examined on Wednesday or Thursday and could return to the lineup Friday night at home against the Minnesota Wild or Sunday afternoon in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

Chasing history: Trotz, 53, was asked by a Montreal reporter if he remembers watching the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who recorded an NHL record 132 points, a record the Capitals could catch with 20 wins in their final 24 games.

“We only had two channels out in my little town of Dauphin (Manitoba),” Trotz said.

“We’re having a special season and we’ll play it out. It will be a special season, no matter what. The regular season is a marathon, it’s hard. There are so many good teams  And if you have a really good record or you win a Presidents’ Trophy it is a good statement on your organization and your team and the value your players put in night in and night out.

“You have to be lucky, you have to be good, you have to be competing every night. Once that’s over there’s a new marathon that starts. We’re going to play as hard as we can until the end of the season and then we’re going to play into the playoffs.”

In the playoffs, Trotz said your back to zero.

“All it means is that we’re meant to be here and we’re entitled to nothing when it gets to the post-season.”

RELATED: Capitals 'enjoying the ride' toward history


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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby.

Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty-handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1.

It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

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

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4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win in hand as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus to actually play in the game. But he did. He started off very well, making several strong saves in the first period. Washington scored late in the opening period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead late in the third, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking, Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but a point as well.