Capitals

Quick Links

For Williams, a grand celebration planned

usatsi_9064359_141983962_lowres.jpg

For Williams, a grand celebration planned

One day after his 19th birthday, Justin Williams played in his first NHL game, scoring a goal against Felix Potvin and assisting on two others in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

The date was Oct. 5, 2000.

Fifteen years later, before playing in his first game with the Capitals after signing a two-year deal, Williams was asked if he knew the significance of playing every game this season.

“Yep,” he said with a smile. “I do.”

Tonight against the Anaheim Ducks, Williams, 34, will play in his 82nd game this season and the 1,000th game of his NHL career, which began with a flair, was interrupted by injury and has included his name on the Stanley Cup three times and a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

“I think he's a perfect fit for our team,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. “A perfect guy in the locker room. He's the kind of guy who knows exactly what he has to do. The people around him know he's a tremendous work-ethic guy out there, he tries to win every battle. In front of the net he's outstanding. For his size it's unbelievable what he can do in front of the net.”

In 999 NHL games, Williams has 249 goals and 385 assists for 634 points, a 0.63 point per game average. But in 115 career playoff games, William has 30 goals and 48 assists for 78 points, a 0.68 points per game average. Included in those totals are seven goals and seven assists in seven Game 7s, along with a perfect 7-0 record in the games that matter most.

“He’s unbelievable,” Capitals defenseman Mike Weber said. “What a tremendous veteran guy, an obvious leader. The Cups he has, the experiences he has. I’ve only played with a couple guys that have played 1,000 games and he’s one of the special ones. It’ll be a nice treat for him.”

To celebrate the occasion, the Capitals will hold a pre-game ceremony in which NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Jim Gregory will present Williams with a commemorative crystal from the NHL, and the Capitals will present Williams with a silver stick. Williams, who is nicknamed  “Stick,” also will receive a special gift from his teammates.

Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie said it’s Williams’ demeanor on the ice and on the bench that most impresses him.

“He doesn’t ever get too down on himself or anyone else,” said Oshie, who recently played in his 500th NHL game. “It seems when the game elevates and it gets more intense and the game’s on the line, he stays calm and he gets his game elevated. It’s a great trait to have.”

Taken by the Flyers with the 28th pick overall of the 2000 NHL draft, Williams broke his left hand in his rookie season and tore his ACL and MCL in his third season. He was dealt from the Flyers to the Carolina Hurricanes midway through the 2003-04 season for defenseman Danny Markov, a deal the Flyers wuld live to regret.

Williams again was slowed by injury in Carolina, missing time with a second knee surgery and another surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. In 2006 Williams won his first Stanley Cup, sealing the deal with an empty-netter in Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Less than three years after winning the Cup in Carolina, Williams again was involved in a lopsided trade when he was sent to the L.A. Kings for forward Patrick O’Sullivan and a second-round pick. Again, he made his former team regret losing him, going on to win a pair of Stanley Cups in Los Angeles.

In his past five seasons, Williams has missed just one game and this season he’s having one of his best offensive seasons, with 22 goals and 52 points in 81 games. Williams said the secret to his longevity is his ability to learn to pace himself.

“You figure out what you can do and what you can't do on the ice with regards to hitting, with regards to evading checks, with regards to making plays," he said. "Throughout my career I've learned about the body, learned about what you need to do on the ice and I've been able to stay healthy because of it.

"You go as hard as you can on the ice when you're on there," Williams said. "Pacing yourself is listening to your body and knowing when you need rest, knowing when to take an optional (practice), knowing that you need a good stretch here and there — just little things like that that elongate your career. People say, 'Stretch your legs, stretch your career.’”

Williams has done just that, but says there is something bigger, something shiny and silver, that still drives him.

“As I’ve kind of tried to do throughout my career, I set goals for myself and when I meet that goal I try and get another one,” he said. “A thousand games is certainly on that list and something I can can get to … and then think about playoffs after that.”

MORE CAPITALS: Should Capitals give Holtby a shot at 49th win?

Quick Links

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

capture_oviflorida.png
USA TODAY Sports

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.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

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

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME ON?

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

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

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

Forwards
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

Defensemen
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

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

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.

CAPITALS-PANTHERS OPEN THREAD

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

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

usa-women.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

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.

RELATED: WHICH WINTER OLYMPIANS REPRESENT THE D.M.V?

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.