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4 reasons why the Caps beat Barry Trotz and the Islanders

4 reasons why the Caps beat Barry Trotz and the Islanders

The Caps went into Brooklyn and handed the New York Islanders a 4-1 loss Monday in their first matchup against former head coach Barry Trotz. Washington has now won six straight, their longest streak of the season.

Here are four reasons the Caps earned the victory:

Tom Wilson’s quick response

For the fifth time in six games, the Caps allowed the first goal of the game and it came just 36 seconds into the contest. The poor start was quickly erased, however, by Tom Wilson who scored just 2:14 later to tie the game back at one.

It wasn’t complicated. Wilson cut to the right for a pass from Nicklas Backstrom, entered the offensive zone with the puck and fired a shot on net from the faceoff dot that beat Thomas Greiss. It was a shot Greiss probably should have stopped, but that’s just the way things have gone for Wilson since he returned from suspension.

Wilson would add a second goal in the third period on the power play, playing in T.J. Oshie’s spot in the slot on the power play. Wilson now has a goal in four straight games and six points in those four. He has played in eight total games since his return and already has 11 points.

Matt Niskanen’s goal-line save

Early in the second period, the Islanders thought they had taken a 2-1 lead, but they were denied by a big save. No, it wasn’t Braden Holtby who denied New York the lead, but actually Matt Niskanen.

A shot from Ryan Pulock trickled through Holtby and into the crease. Niskanen was there first and attempted to hit the puck back under Holtby, but it bounced out and onto the goal line. Niskanen got his stick on it again and swept it off before it could cross completely, thus preserving the tie.

Nic Dowd’s backbreaker

The second period is typically Washington’s strongest, but things were not going well for the Caps in the middle frame to start. The Islanders had the near miss, but they also had the first eight shots on goal of the period. In fact, Washington did not register a shot on goal until 7:28 into the period. Thirty seconds later, however, Dowd scored the go-ahead goal and completely sucked the air out of New York.

Dmitrij Jaskin fed Dowd with a drop-pass, then tried to crash the net drawing the defenseman with him. With the puck and a little bit of room to work with, Dowd took aim and fired a wrister that beat Greiss glove-side high. The goal was Dowd’s second in as many games.

The Islanders were slowly taking control of the game in the second period and that made Dowd’s tally feel like a backbreaker. New York outshot Washington 10-3 and drew three penalties while not giving up any. And yet, when the clock struck zero on the middle frame, it was the Caps who headed to the locker room with the 2-1 lead.

The penalty kill

The penalties were a bit one-sided in this game in favor of the Islanders. Washington received two power plays but was booked three times in the second period alone and again once in the third. The Caps’ suddenly hot penalty kill came through again, however, with a perfect night to keep Washington in control of the narrow win.

Since Wilson returned from suspension, the Caps have killed off 24 out of 27 penalties, or 88.9-percent of the power plays they have faced.



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In a sport in which silence is the norm, Braden Holtby continues to be a voice for change

In a sport in which silence is the norm, Braden Holtby continues to be a voice for change

The phrase "stick to sports" is one often uttered by angry fans who don't want politics to bleed into their past time, who want sports to remain an escape from every day life. No sport has taken those words to heart in recent years more so than hockey where players very rarely come out and discuss political or social topics. Braden Holtby, however, has been a notable exception.

With the country locked in political unrest after the senseless murder of George Floyd, Holtby tweeted out an impassioned statement on Wednesday with his thoughts.

"I don't think this time is a time to sugarcoat anything," Holtby said Friday in a video conference. "I think it's a time to look at ourselves in the mirror and really find how we can be better and how we can take responsibility for the past and learn from that to move forward."

Holtby has been an outspoken advocate for human rights, particularly those of the LGBTQ community, for several years. Many hockey players have been outspoken in the wake of the protests currently gripping the country representing a shocking shift from the norm of silence we typically see in hockey from such issues.

Holtby, however, has never been shy about giving his thoughts.

"I don’t know why it’s been kind of taboo to speak your mind or stand up for what you believe in," Holtby said. "Obviously, there’s always this divide from sports to social issues. You want to be educated, you want to make sure that you know what you’re talking about [and] you’re not just using your platform to try and be popular or something like that."


Quick reactions on social media are easy and often without substance. Holtby, however, who professed that he actually dislikes social media and does not like to use it all that much, stressed the need for everyone, including himself, to educate themselves on the important issues facing the country before and in addition to speaking out.

"It wasn't until I moved here that you really understand what racial injustice is in this country," Holtby said, who is originally from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. "In Canada, we have indigenous rights and racism that way. I grew up around that, but this is different so I needed to educate myself and still need to. I believe how my parents did the right thing in teaching us in our situation. I learned a lot from them and Brandi as well and now we're just trying to take our knowledge we've learned in a different culture and try to teach our kids that way."


But not everyone is open to hearing Holtby's thoughts on the matter.

When you speak out on these types of issues, you are bound to get plenty of backlash. Holtby has gotten such reaction from many who have decided that because he is a professional hockey player, he is for some reason no longer entitled to have a voice. There are also those who do not want to hear the opinion of a Canadian on America despite the fact that Holtby has been living in America since 2009.

"I think we all have our professions," Holtby said. "Everyone does. I don't know if any of us have -- unless your job is to fight racial inequalities or any sort of social issues that way, we're all just trying to be humans. And we just happen to have a following based on our job where people see us and it's easier to see us. It's crazy to think that that's an argument. We play hockey on the ice. We live our lives just as humans off of the ice and try to do our part that way. The second part about the Canadian thing is I've lived here for over 10 years now, so we call this home. This is my kids' home. My kids are both American. I feel like I'm fortunate to have been in both countries and be a part of both countries. I've said this a long (time): Canada follows America in a lot of ways. If you go from Canada to America, you don't see a ton of difference. The northern part of the states are very similar to Canada, and I believe when you try to make changes in one [it affects the other]."

But when the issues are important enough, it's easy to tune out the naysayers.

"I'm just trying to learn how I can do my part and my family's part to help people out," Holtby said. "I'm really hoping and I really believe that this is going to change the world in a lot of ways."

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Watch Alex Ovechkin’s son Sergei work on his slap shot

Watch Alex Ovechkin’s son Sergei work on his slap shot

The future looks bright for the Capitals with Alex Ovechkin’s son Sergei as an up-and-coming star.

Ovechkin’s wife Nastya captured an adorable moment on her Instagram story Thursday afternoon when Sergei practiced his shot and found the back of his miniature net on six consecutive attempts – just like his father would.

Nastya praised her 1-year-old, saying “Bravo!” after every goal scored, before he celebrated in classic Ovechkin fashion.


While Ovi's eldest son has been occupied with his new role as a big brother as of late, he makes sure to leave plenty time to work on his slap shot and practice his celly, too, of course.

It looks like the young star is already on track to catch his father at 700 and make his debut in the 2038 NHL season.