Quick Links

Will well-rested Ovechkin cure Caps' power play?


Will well-rested Ovechkin cure Caps' power play?

After going for 0-for-8 in Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers, the Capitals’ power play resumed some semblance of order at practice on Wednesday, with Alex Ovechkin assuming his role as puck crusher.

Forced to watch Tuesday night’s loss while serving a one-game suspension for missing Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game, Ovechkin took up his spot in the left faceoff circle on a top power-play unit with Nicklas Backstrom working the half wall, Evgeny Kuznetsov on the goal line, T.J. Oshie in the slot, and John Carlson at center point.

“We lost a couple guys,” Ovechkin said of himself and Marcus Johansson (upper body injury), “and Oshie was kind of playing out of position and it’s a hard position to be in. I don’t know if he ever played  that. Tomorrow is going to be a much better day against the Islanders.”

The Caps certainly hope so. In their only two games without Ovechkin in the lineup this season they are 0-2, have been outscored 10-2 and have gone 0-for-12 on the power play, although it’s worth noting Backstrom’s goal Tuesday night  came one second after a Caps power play expired.

Ovechkin leads the Caps with 28 goals, two behind NHL leader Patrick Kane, and 11 power-play goals, three behind Kane. At his current pace, Ovechkin would finish with 49 goals and 19 power play goals, slightly below his totals last season of 53 goals and 25 power-play tallies.

The Caps have used defensemen John Carlson and Matt Niskanen as Ovechkin’s puck-feeding machines, with varying degrees of success. Each has 10 power-play assists this season. On Wednesday Niskanen practiced with the Caps’ second power-play unit with Andre Burakovsky on the half wall, Jason Chimera on the goal line, Justin Williams in the slot and Stan Galiev in Ovechkin’s spot in the left circle.

“They’re interchangeable,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said of Carlson and Niskanen. “Each delivers the puck a little different. They put it in different spots for Ovi.

“The puck slides differently between one guy and the other. Mike Green (16 power-play assists last season) was the best. He had a tight spin on that pass and it was right in (Ovechkin’s) wheelhouse. Some guys have the gift.”

The Capitals are hoping their decision to keep Ovechkin out of the All-Star Game will pay big dividends down the stretch. The Caps will play 34 games in the final 69 days of the regular season. Ovechkin has not played a game since last Wednesday night against the Flyers.

“I know it has,” Trotz said when asked if Ovechkin has benefitted from the extra rest. “He’s fresh. We’ll see if he’s totally healthy, but he’ll play tomorrow. He’s zooming around and he’s missing everybody. When you don’t play you feel like an outsider. He’s in the in group again and he’ll be good.”

Ovechkin said players prefer games over practices anyway.

“It’s a good thing,” he said. “When you play the game that’s more interesting than practicing. Of course it’s going to be hard, but you train in the summer to get ready for this stretch.”

RELATED: Why, without Holtby, goaltending an issue for Caps vs. Panthers

Quick Links

Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

USA Today Sports Images

Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

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


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


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

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


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.

Quick Links

Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”