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Antti Raanta closes the door on the Caps and their win streak

Antti Raanta closes the door on the Caps and their win streak

WASHINGTON -- Antti Raanta's heroics were the difference as the Capitals saw their six-game win streak snapped on Monday in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Raanta made a number of incredible saves in the first period so as not to allow the Caps to take control. Evgeny Kuznetsov helped the team battle back from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime, but they could not complete the comeback and ultimately fell in the shootout.

The loss snaps a six-game win streak for Washington. The point streak lives on, however, and was extended to 12 games. Here is how they lost.

Antti Raanta

This game could have gotten ugly early. The Caps’ offense was flying to start and generated a number of really nice plays, but Raanta was there each time with the great save.

Just over two minutes into the game, Evgeny Kuznetsov fed Jakub Vrana beautifully on the backdoor and it looked like he had nothing but net to shoot on. Raanta stretched out in the splits to get over in time to stop just enough of the puck to keep it out of the net. It squeaked by him, but Jakub Chychrun was there to take it off the goal line. Just a few minutes later, Raanta denied Tom Wilson on a 2-on-1 with the right pad. He denied Vrana again with a great glove save to push the puck wide.

In all, Raanta made 12 saves and Arizona walked away with a 1-0 lead in what was a dominant first period for the Caps. He finished the game with 31 saves on 34 shots and denied both shootout attempts he faced.

A definitive review

Just 10 seconds into the second period, Brad Richardson threw a puck to the front of the net that deflected off the skate of Christian Fischer and into the glove of Ilya Samsonov. It looked like nothing more than a decent save, but the play was reviewed to see if Samsonov's glove was over the goal line. From the initial views, it looked like there was no way to definitively tell if the puck was over the line or not. From an overhead view, however, the camera showed the puck through the webbing of Samsonov's glove and you could see the puck was in fact over the line. So instead of a faceoff off a Samsonov save, Arizona was awarded their second goal of the game.

Grabner's breakaway

Arizona pestered the Caps all night long and made sure that nothing Washington wanted to do came easy. 

In the second period as the Caps tried to break the puck up through the neutral zone, T.J. Oshie's pass was intercepted by Michael Grabner and he was off to the races. Grabner has the type of speed that if he has a breakaway, you are not going to catch him. He skated in on Samsonov and wristed the shot through the 5-hole of Samsonov to make it 3-0. It came just 35 seconds after Fischer's goal.

Eller draws Oshie offside

Oshie scored a phenomenal overtime goal to give the Caps the win, completing the 3-0 comeback and everyone lived happily ever after...but then the referees reviewed the goal.

As Oshie and Lars Eller broke into the offensive zone, Eller stumbled with the puck. That drew Oshie off who continued into the zone. The review showed that Oshie had indeed entered the zone before the puck and the goal was taken off the board.

Kuznetsov hits the post in the shootout

Kuznetsov would not be denied all night long. He was the best player on the ice for either team on Monday and scored twice to help the Caps rebound from a 3-0 deficit and force overtime. In the shootout, he took Washington's second shot. He showed some slick moves and had Raanta beat, but he struck the post. Seeing the Caps' best player come up empty-handed on the shootout was a poetic way for them to lose. Conor Garland came up next and scored on his attempt against Samsonov, thus ending the game.

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Alex Ovechkin teaching his son hockey might be the most adorable thing ever

Alex Ovechkin teaching his son hockey might be the most adorable thing ever

The Capitals had an off day on Sunday ahead of their Monday matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets, giving the opportunity for Alex Ovechkin to spend some time with his son.

Sergei and his dad came across a baby hockey stick and Ovechkin decided to teach his son a few moves.

The 2035 NHL mock drafts have yet to be released, but we have an early pick for No. 1


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Backstrom's back: Caps will get their top center back for Monday's game

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Backstrom's back: Caps will get their top center back for Monday's game

ARLINGTON, Va -- The Capitals are riding a six-game win streak and already have the most points in the NHL and now they will be adding one of their best players back into the lineup. Nicklas Backstrom said Sunday after practice that he is "ready to go" for Monday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It will be his first game since Nov. 18.

An upper-body injury forced Backstrom out of the lineup for the last eight games. Despite returning to practice during the team's road trip through California, he did not get into a game as the team preached caution with its star center. As the team returned home, Backstrom took line rushes on Sunday and both he and head coach Todd Reirden confirmed he would be back in for Monday's game.

"It was good to see him out there in full practice," Reirden said. "Did some drills specifically to help prepare him for tomorrow. He's good to go for tomorrow."

Backstrom said he knew when he woke up on Sunday that he was ready.

"As of today I'm good to go," he said. "I woke up and felt good. It's like that guy in 'Mighty Ducks,' I woke up, no pain."

It does not appear as if Backstrom will be eased back into the lineup as he skated on the top line in practice alongside Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. Evgeny Kuznetsov had been playing in that spot, but the top line had grown stagnant. Ovechkin, Wilson and Kuznetsov combined for only one even-strength point in the past three games.

Barring something unexpected, the return of Backstrom should give the Caps their full lineup for the first time all season. Considering what the team has been able to accomplish thus far while having to shuffle the lineup because of injuries and suspensions, this has been an impressive start.

"I think that shows the depth that we have all the way through our lineup: forward, defenseman and our goaltending has been strong," Reirden said. "I think it's a clear understanding that it's a competitive situation that we've had since training camp that players are ready to take advantage of their opportunities that they get and they know that they need to otherwise there's a chance they could find themselves on the outside. The inner-competition we've had has probably helped push that a little bit. That's been a good problem to have, and it's allowed us to see some other players get opportunities and showcase some of the abilities they have."

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