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4 reasons the Caps beat the Hurricanes

4 reasons the Caps beat the Hurricanes

The Caps pulled off an improbable 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes as they scored the game-tying and game-winning goal both in the final four minutes of the third period.

It looked like the Caps were headed for two regulation losses at the hands of the Hurricanes in as many nights, but late goals from Brett Connolly and Jay Beagle saved a victory from the jaws of defeat. Here is how the Caps managed the unbelievable win.

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How many times have you watched the Caps and yelled, "Shoot the puck!"? Probably a lot. Washington ranks dead last in the NHL in shots per game and there are definitely times when the team seems to give up opportunities to look for the "perfect" play. When it came to those two late goals, however, there was no hesitation. Noah Hanifin made an egregious mistake as he threw the puck up the middle in the defensive zone. Connolly was the first to the puck and he simply fired it on net. There was no stick-handling, no fakes, no ill-advised passes, just a one-touch shot and a goal. With the clock winding down in the final minute of regulation, Nicklas Backstrom sent a pass to Beagle and he didn't have time to do anything but sweep the bouncing puck in.

The power play

On Thursday, the Caps went 0-for-3 on the power play and it was a definite factor in their loss. On Friday, it helped them win. Lars Eller scored a power play goal on the team's first opportunity in the first period to tie the game at 1. Alex Ovechkin also scored from the office at the start of the second. The goal was scored as the penalty expired so while it does not officially count as a power play tally, it essentially was. Washington finished 1-for-4 with the extra man, 2-for-4 if you count Ovechkin's goal.

MORE: VIDEO OF BEAGLE'S BUZZER BEATER

Lars Eller

Who has the longest goal streak this season for the Caps? It's not Ovechkin or Oshie, but Eller who now has scored a goal in each of the last four games and has five goals in the last seven. The third line was again Washington's best on the net with Eller at center.

The top six

The Caps' top playmakers had been notably quiet of late, but they contributed in a big way in Carolina. Ovechkin scored from the office and added two assists, Backstrom assisted on the miracle Beagle goal and both Vrana and Kuznetsov chipped in assists as well.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

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