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Why Ovechkin is rooting for Kane to keep streak going

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Why Ovechkin is rooting for Kane to keep streak going

To put Patrick Kane’s current 26-game point streak into perspective, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has never put together a streak of more than 13 games.

Tonight in Chicago, Kane will try to keep it going when the Blackhawks take on goaltender Semyon Varlamov and the Colorado Avalanche at United Center.

“It’s impressive,” said Ovechkin, whose 13-game point streak came in the 2006-07 season when he piled up eight goals and 12 assists. “I hope he’s going to continue to do what he’s doing right now.

“Me and Kuzy (Evgeny Kuznetsov) were looking at the stats when Gretzky had 51 games. He had almost 200 points.”

Gretzky’s 51-game point streak during the 1983-84 season is widely considered one of the NHL’s unbreakable records. Gretzky netted an astounding 61 goals and 92 assists during his streak.

“You can see the difference right now,” Ovechkin said. “Hockey has changed. Everybody gets faster. Goalies get bigger and faster. System-wise, power play, penalty kill. Every year you see young guys come in and they’re just flying out there. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with them. That’s why t’s impressive what he’s doing right now and I hope he’s going to do it much (longer).”

During his 26-game streak, which began on Oct. 17 in the Hawks’ sixth game of the season, Kane has 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points. 

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“Tip your cap,” Caps right wing Justin Williams said. “It’s impressive what he’s done it. Twenty-six and going, good for him. 

“He’s just very deceptive. He’s kind of like their Nick Backstrom. You’re not sure what he’s going to do with the puck. Every play he makes it’s usually the right one. The way he can think a couple steps ahead of everyone is what makes his special.”

As is his nature, Williams wouldn’t let it go at that, though.

“We’ll shut him down next time we play them,” he chirped.

That would be on Feb. 28 when the Caps visit Chicago. By then, Kane’s streak would be at an NHL record 59 games. No one is about to go out on that limb. 

Caps coach Barry Trotz said even half that is quite an accomplishment.

“It’s not like (Kane) is not getting any (defensive) matchups most nights,” Troitz said. “Just the way the game is played now, it’s a workman’s league. If you’re unwilling to work, skill gets eaten up by will. So to be able to produce game in and game out for that long is pretty impressive.

“You won’t see that too often, plus the goaltenders are so good. Even if you’re a terrific talent like Patrick it’s hard to beat some of those goalies.”

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

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A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.