Capitals

Yankees star to miss at least 1 week

Yankees star to miss at least 1 week

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Rafael Soriano has been so reliable for the New York Yankees that they've hardly missed a beat without Mariano Rivera.Until now.Colby Rasmus hit a three-run homer off Soriano with two outs in the ninth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays took advantage of Derek Lowe's wild pickoff throw in the 11th to beat New York 8-7 Monday night, snapping a seven-game losing streak."He's been so good for us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's done a great job. Just tonight wasn't his night."It was Soriano's third blown save in 36 chances since taking over as closer for the injured Rivera in May. New York fell to 69-5 when leading after eight innings.Soriano left the clubhouse without speaking to reporters.Moments after Rasmus' stunning drive put Toronto ahead 7-6, Derek Jeter tied it with a home run off Casey Janssen. But the last-place Blue Jays didn't cave, scratching out a run two innings later to stop an eight-game slide at Yankee Stadium.The loss might be a costly one in more ways than one for the AL East leaders. Slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira was pulled with a left calf injury and sent to the hospital for an MRI that revealed a Grade 1 strain. Teixeira said he expects to miss at least a week, maybe two."He's been such a backbone to our lineup," Nick Swisher said. "For a guy like that to be out of our lineup, that's a big deal."The injury is another blow to the middle of New York's power-packed batting order. Alex Rodriguez has been sidelined since July 25 with a broken left hand but was cleared to take batting practice Tuesday."It's very frustrating," Teixeira said. "We've had our share of bad luck, as most teams in baseball have. We'll have guys step up."Yorvit Torrealba had a two-run shot and Adam Lind also went deep in his first plate appearance for the banged-up Blue Jays since coming off the disabled list. Missing slugger Jose Bautista and several other regulars, Toronto had dropped a season-worst eight straight on the road."When you come here to play in Yankee Stadium, man, anything can happen. I think everybody knows that," Blue Jays reliever Darren Oliver said.Robinson Cano homered twice and Swisher hit a two-run drive for New York.Torrealba singled leading off the 11th for his third hit and pinch-runner Mike McCoy scampered to third when Lowe's pickoff attempt got past first baseman Eric Chavez and rolled into foul territory up the right-field line. Lowe (8-11) was charged with an error."It's a simple throw to first and it cost us," he said, shaking his head. "It's inexecusable, but it happened."After a strikeout, Adeiny Hechavarria hit a slow grounder toward third that forced Jayson Nix to charge the ball. McCoy waited until Nix threw to first, then dashed home and beat Chavez's throw to the plate with a slide."Great instincts," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.Oliver (3-2) pitched two hitless innings for the win, Toronto's first at Yankee Stadium since May 23, 2011.Rookie right-hander David Phelps gave the Yankees another solid spot start, this one in place of injured Ivan Nova, and New York opened a 6-3 lead in the fifth. Hechavarria got Toronto's comeback started with a two-out RBI single off Cody Eppley in the seventh.Moises Sierra and Rajai Davis singled in the ninth to bring up the slumping Rasmus, who drove a breaking ball deep into the second deck in right for his 21st home run."Real pleased with the way guys competed all the way through the end of the night," Farrell said. "We didn't roll over and we kept coming at them. ... These are those games, in the 11th inning on the road you win it. Sometimes if they go the other way they can almost feel like two losses."On a night when it was downright dangerous to be a Toronto pitcher, four times the Yankees hit sharp comebackers that caromed off the body of a Blue Jays hurler.Henderson Alvarez took the worst one, Russell Martin's hard grounder that smacked off the right-hander's leg in the fourth inning and careened into shallow right field for an RBI single. Alvarez hobbled over to the first base line and bent over in pain. He was checked by a trainer and walked slowly off the field with a bruised left shin."That's just the way the season's gone," Lind said.X-rays were negative and he is day to day. Aaron Laffey relieved and was given all the time he needed to warm up.Alvarez also was checked by the trainer in the second inning after Chavez's comebacker deflected off his pitching hand for an infield single. He threw a couple of warmup pitches and appeared to be OK.Chavez had another infield single in the eighth that hit reliever Aaron Loup. Laffey recovered from a body shot to throw out Jeter in the sixth. Laffey left with a bruised left calf and is day to day."In some ways we dodged a couple of bullets," Farrell said.NOTES:Bautista, back on the disabled list with a left wrist injury, was examined by a hand specialist in Cleveland and was on his way to New York to rejoin the team, Farrell said. The Blue Jays were awaiting test results. ... Yankees RHP David Robertson pitched a scoreless eighth inning hours after his wife, Erin, gave birth to their first child, a baby boy they named Luke Joseph. ... RHP Phil Hughes (12-11, 4.15 ERA) starts Tuesday night for the Yankees against struggling LHP Ricky Romero (8-11, 5.63).

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How the Caps got Alex Ovechkin wide open for the overtime winner in Detroit

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USA TODAY Sports

How the Caps got Alex Ovechkin wide open for the overtime winner in Detroit

The Washington Capitals are back in the win column thanks to a 4-3 overtime win in Detroit on Friday. Alex Ovechkin netted the game winner on a wide-open one timer that beat goalie Petr Mrazek.

How does Ovechkin get wide open in overtime? Because the Detroit Red Wings all got caught watching Nicklas Backstrom on a beautiful cycle by the Caps.

When you have to cover Ovechkin in a four-on-three penalty kill, you have your hands full. There is a lot open ice for the power play to work with in those situations. In a regular power play, we often seen teams play Ovechkin closely, sometimes even dedicating a player specifically on him and going four on three with the rest of the power play.

RELATED: ANDRE BURAKOVSKY WAS CHALLENGED BY HIS COACH AND HE RESPONDED

Look how closely the Red Wings were covering Ovechkin on a power play earlier in the game.

There’s not a lot of room to work with, but you can’t play that tight on a four on three penalty kill.

With only three penalty killers on the ice, they have to play closer into the net. You may leave end up leaving Ovechkin open for the shot, but at the very least you can get a body in front of him to either block the shot or pressure him when he has the puck.

Here is what Detroit’s three-man penalty kill looks like when it is set up.

The Red Wings are yielding the point to John Carlson but are tight in front and in good position to attack the players set up in more dangerous areas.

But this all breaks down if the players get caught watching the puck instead of focusing on their assignment. We saw this in the second period when, on a five-on-four, all four of Detroit's penalty killers move too far over to one side leaving Ovechkin wide open for a one-timer.

Somehow Mrazek stopped it, but I am sure his life flashed before his eyes when he saw the Great 8 stepping up for the clear shot. Even though it did not result in a goal, it was a clear breakdown by the defense as the Caps were able to draw the penalty killers out of position.

On a three-man penalty kill, the penalty killers do not want to move. They want to stay in position and attack you when you come too close. So how do you draw them out of position? You cycle.

Watch how much the Caps move with and without the puck on this power play.

MORE CAPITALS: WHO STOOD OUT IN DETROIT?

What the Caps are essentially doing here is fishing. They have their line out and are waiting to catch one of the penalty killers. Backstrom eventually does as Luke Glendening chases after him and the puck. The result?

Yeah, can’t leave that guy open twice and live to tell about it.

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Game 9: Capitals vs. Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 9: Capitals vs. Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET. Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. ET with Capitals FaceOff.

How to Watch: Capitals vs. Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals vs. Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals (4-3-1) take on the Panthers (2-4-0) Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Capitals FaceOff gets things started at 6:30 p.m. ET followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington following the game for Caps Extra followed by Caps Overtime and Caps in 30 for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:30 p.m. — Capitals vs. Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps OverTime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as the pre and postgame shows, 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.

WHAT ARE THE LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

Here are the projected lines:

Forwards
Tom Wilson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Jakub Vrana
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Devante Smith-Pelly - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney

Goalies
Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches
Nathan Walker, Aaron Ness, Tyler Graovac (injured), Matt Niskanen (LTIR)

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.