Beninati: Carolina Never Quits

Beninati: Carolina Never Quits

Friday, March 26, 2010 12:27am

By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-by-Play

Please don't let these guys slip into the 8th spot in the East. Carolina never quits against Washington and pushed them to the limit tonight.The Hurricanes jumped out to a quick 2-0 advantage. Jamie McBain has a bright future ahead of him. Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice has noticed this youngster on the radar screen this year and his NHL baptism is going well. He blasted a slapper past a screened Semyon Varlamov to give the locals the lead early in the period.Varlamov didn't catch a break on the second goal either. He was shifting to his glove side when Bryan Rodney's shot deflected down into the far corner. After some rocky moments in the first period the young Russian netminder settled in pretty well. He made three strong stops in the second and one red letter save on Eric Staal in overtime.Once the game reached the middle period the Caps played a much more responsible and accountable frame. They were a bit sluggish in the first after expending all that emotion the previous night against Pittsburgh.Alex Semin scoring against Carolina is like the sun rising in the east -- happens everytime. He ripped a slapshot through Manny Legace to cut the Carolina lead in half.

Legace was giving the Caps trouble tonight. I thought he might struggle against them because he relies on reflexes and isn't the biggest goalie in the business. But the little guy did really well.John Carlson picked a good time to tally his first NHL goal in period three. He jumped into the play at the perfect time, took a short pass from Jason Chimera, and zipped a shot under Legace to tie the score.Tom Poti had a golden opportunity to win the game at the buzzer, but another Legace stop pushed the game past regulation.The Caps had the better of the play in overtime, but neither club converted. So for the second straight night it was off to the shootout.This one required five rounds and Hurricane winger Chad LaRose, taking his first ever shootout shot, was the unlikely hero, tucking one past Varlamov on a deke to the forehand.With the point the Caps break the franchise record for most in a single season. Bruce Boudreau told us today he loves breaking records. And his team will have plenty of opportunities to set new standards in the days and weeks ahead.Next up Calgary at 3pm Sunday from Verizon on Comcast SportsNet.

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Redskins vs. 49ers Week 7 Inactives: Norman inactive for first time this season

Redskins vs. 49ers Week 7 Inactives: Norman inactive for first time this season

Coming out victorious against the undefeated San Francisco 49ers is already a tall task for the 1-5 Redskins, but it'll be even more difficult on Sunday, as the Burgundy and Gold are down two of the best offensive weapons.

After suffering a toe injury against the Dolphins a week ago, running back Chris Thompson will be unable to play vs. San Francisco. Additionally, tight end Vernon Davis will also be in street clothes, as the 35-year-old continues to recover from a concussion.

In wake of Thompson's injury, running back Craig Reynolds was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster on Friday. He is active.

Dealing with both a hand and thigh injury, cornerback Josh Norman will be sidelined for Week 7. This doesn't come as a surprise, as No. 24 did not practice all week.

Also on the defensive side of the ball, both linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons and safety Deshazor Everett will miss their second consecutive game, nursing a hamstring and ankle injury, respectively.

Here are the Week 7 inactives.

Redskins vs. 49ers Week 7 Inactives:

Redskins Inactives:

QB Colt McCoy
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons
S Deshazor Everett
G Wes Martin
RB Chris Thompson
TE Vernon Davis
CB Josh Norman

49ers Inactives:

QB C.J. Beathard
WR Deebo Samuel
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
FB Kyle Juszczyk
OT Mike McGlinchey
OT Joe Staley
DL D.J. Jones


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Nationals will face juggernaut Houston Astros in the World Series

Nationals will face juggernaut Houston Astros in the World Series

Finally, an opponent.

The Washington Nationals will travel to Houston on Monday morning to open the 115th World Series on Tuesday against the American League champion Astros in Minute Maid Park.

The Nationals swept St. Louis to send themselves to the organization’s first World Series and a six-day break between games. 

Houston beat the New York Yankees, 6-4, Saturday night to capture its second American League title in three years thanks to a walk-off homer by Jose Altuve. The Astros won the 2017 World Series and lost in the ALCS to eventual World Series champion Boston last season. 

The Astros are deep, versatile and targeted. They won the American League title via a Game 6 bullpen showdown. Outside of starting Brad Peacock in the reliever-laden clincher, Houston also dispatches Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, a trio which rivals -- if not bests -- the Nationals’ top three. As a group, Houston commanded the strike zone like no other team during the regular season. It led the league in strikeouts from its pitchers and its hitters struck out the least. 

If there is a ding against Houston, which won a franchise-record 107 games this season, it would be the ALCS work with runners in scoring position. It entered Game 6 just 4-for-27 with runners in scoring position. Yuli Gurriel’s three-run, first-inning homer helped counter that slog Saturday night and push Houston into another shot at a title. 

Winning behind a bullpen game is a huge benefit for Houston, It can now pitch ace Cole in Game 1 on extra rest and Verlander in Game 2 on regular rest, if it chooses. 

The Nationals are yet to announce their rotation plans. They have options. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg could pitch the first two games. Or, Washington could throw Aníbal Sánchez in the opener to push Scherzer to Games 2 and 6 and Strasburg to Games 3 and 7. 

Scherzer and Sánchez dealt with a few of the keys to the Astros’ lineup in the past. Michael Brantley, who joined the Astros following a strong career in Cleveland, is 15-for-44 career against Scherzer (a 1.004 OPS). Jose Altuve is 2 for 11 in a much smaller sample. Josh Reddick is 5 for 11. Many of the major names in the Houston lineup have not faced Scherzer previously. 

Altuve (4 for 11) is more successful against Sánchez. Brantley less so (.667 OPS in 30 at-bats).

They will all face each other again starting Tuesday night at 8:08.