Capitals

Beninati: These Guys Make Things Interesting

Beninati: These Guys Make Things Interesting

By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-By-Play

These guys sure know how to make things interesting. There are times when a team thats incredibly talented can tip-toe through 40 minutes of a game and manage to steal it in the end. This was one of those.

The Caps were far from perfect in the 1st period again. The Panthers had three days of rest to prepare for this divisional rivalry and they definitely had the better skating legs early.

The goal by Michael Frolik capped a pretty passing play in a tight amount of space. The backhand by Dominic Moore was a knuckler that fooled Michal Neuvirth, who turned in another uneven performance in net for DC.

Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun made two strong stops on Alex Semin to protect the lead. Vokoun looked like he was going to be tough to crack, but thankfully he became vulnerable in the middle period.

The Panthers have not been very good protecting two-goal leads all year, so when Jason Chimera scored in the first 20 seconds of period two the visitors gained a lot of life.

Neuvirth struggled on a Stephen Weiss slapshot and was not comfortable on Gregory Campbells backhand, which prompted Bruce Boudreau to make a change. One night earlier the coach was trying to protect Neuvirths confidence in Tampa, but tonights hook was based upon sub-par performance. As it turned out, Jose Theodore would be a hero before the night was complete.

Brian Pothier has had several strong outings against Florida this year. He was in the right place at the right time to convert in the second.

Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom led the charge in the final frame. The Capitals were the far superior team in that period as the Panthers big lead evaporated under the pressure.

Theodore was perfect in regulation and made two huge stops on semi-breakaways in overtime to get the Caps into a shootout. Dont forget the great defensive play from Tyler Sloan in OT to break up another potentially game-ending 2-on-1.

From there the guys showed a great deal of composure. Ovechkin failed on Washingtons first chance to win it in round three. Then Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich scored on their penalty shots when a miss by either guy would have meant a loss. The stage was set for Tomas Fleischmann to beat his fellow Czech countryman which sent the Caps home happy.

It wasnt pretty, but winning doesnt always have to be.

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10 changes that would make the NHL better

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USA TODAY Sports

10 changes that would make the NHL better

Hockey is one of the most incredible, compelling sports in the world. As fun as it is to watch on TV, it is even more compelling in person and fans in North America are treated to the best hockey in the world as played in the NHL.

But the NHL's not perfect.

SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

Just like every sports league, the NHL is always adjusting and making changes to the game in order to improve it through things like rule changes, expansion, playoff formats, etc.

No sport is perfect and hockey is not without its flaws, but there are a number of clear changes that could be made that would improve both the game and the league.

 SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Redskins training camp preview—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 23, three days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Training camp preview—defense 

Here are some of the big topics surrounding the defense at Redskins training camp along with some of the things I’ll be observing closely when training camp gets underway on Thursday. I looked at the topics on offense yesterday

Lining up the line

Will Phil Taylor, who seems to be a long shot to make the team after they drafted two nose tackles, get some run with the first and second teams? Also, this is a young group and Jim Tomsula will have a lot of opportunities to teach. Watching him interacting with his line and going over the details of line play is fun to watch.

Spaight vs. Vigil

The two starting inside linebacker starters are safe and the team is intrigued enough by the potential of both Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton to make them likely bets to make the 53-man roster. That leaves Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight competing for the last ILB roster spot. 

Spaight is a known quantity who has been a mainstay on special teams since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2015. They kept him over Vigil in the cut to 53 a year ago. But last year when injuries hit, Vigil started over Spaight. In a way, this is Round 3 between the two. 

Ryan Anderson

We know what outside linebacker starters Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith can do. Pernell McPhee will be good for four or five sacks and perhaps a forced fumble or two. Anderson, who was team’s second-round pick last year, is a big question mark. He played 193 snaps in 14 games, but he barely dented the stat sheet with no sacks and just 11 tackles. Anderson is a hard worker and they need his 

The pieces of the cornerback puzzle

This is discussed in some detail hereby JP Finlay and I’ll look at it later this week. To pick out one detail, I want to see what the rotation in the slot is. Right now the guess is that Orlando Scandrick is the starter but who will be behind him? That’s important because Scandrick has missed 25 games in the last three seasons due to injuries. 

Apke’s progress

Fourth-round safety Troy Apke displayed impressive makeup speed during offseason practices and that let him make some plays on the ball. But he needed that speed too often as he had issues in coverage. You need to be more than just fast to play in the NFL. If Apke is going to be an alternative if injury problems strike Montae Nicholson again he needs to start making some progress while he is in Richmond. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 3
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 17
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 40

The Redskins last played a game 204 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 48 days. 

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