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Barry Trotz proves prophetic, he and Islanders await winner of Capitals-Hurricanes

Barry Trotz proves prophetic, he and Islanders await winner of Capitals-Hurricanes

When Barry Trotz, now the head coach of the New York Islanders, received his Stanley Cup ring in November, he issued a few words of encouragement to his former team. And a warning.

"You can do it again too," Trotz said of the Capitals’ chances to win a second Stanley Cup, "You'll have to go through the [expletive] Island, okay? But you guys can do it again."

At the time, it seemed unlikely the Islanders would be much of a factor in the postseason. New York missed the playoffs in 2018 and saw its best player, John Tavares, depart for Toronto over the offseason.

Yet, Trotz’s November speech has proven prophetic as the Islanders now await the winner of the Capitals-Carolina Hurricanes first-round series. New York completed a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday marking the second consecutive season Trotz has been able to get the better of Mike Sullivan and the Penguins after losing to them in each of the two seasons prior.

The Islanders’ victory prevents a fourth consecutive Capitals-Penguins second-round series this season. Sidney Crosby was held to only a single point and no goals in the series as New York’s newfound defense suffocated Pittsburgh. The Penguins scored only six goals in four games and only one goal in each of the last three.

Trotz’s familiarity with the Penguins is no surprise given that he has coached against them in the playoffs in each of the past four seasons. Obviously he knows the Caps even better after coaching Washington for four seasons from 2014 to 2018. What tricks will he have up his sleeve to slow down Alex Ovechkin and Co.?

The Caps hold a 2-1 series lead against Carolina in what has been a dogfight of a series thus far. While the team cannot begin to look ahead, that may prove difficult knowing such a familiar face is waiting for them in the second round.

What was a funny line in November has now become the truth. If the Caps hope to defend their Stanley Cup title it will mean going  “through the [expletive] Island” to get there.

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3 players who stood out in playoff rematch against the Hurricanes: Samsonov gets the full game and the win

3 players who stood out in playoff rematch against the Hurricanes: Samsonov gets the full game and the win

WASHINGTON -- In a reversal of last season’s playoff, the Capitals dominant forecheck suffocated the Carolina Hurricanes for much of the game on Friday in a 3-2 preseason win. The game was the final preseason game in Washington as the Caps’ three remaining contests all will come on the road.

Here are three players who impressed in the home preseason finale.

Ilya Samsonov

Samsonov faced only 15 shots from a clearly outmatched Hurricanes roster, but he looked impressive in the few times he was tested. The save of the night came in the second period when he denied Julien Gauthier on a breakaway.

Gauthier attempted the old Peter Forsberg move and skated to his right while trying to craftily tuck the puck in to the left. Samsonov slid with Gauthier, but stuck out his stick to deny the shot and make the tremendous save.

Samsonov continued to demonstrate his comfort playing the puck with his stick as he also denied a scoring opportunity with a well-timed poke check and was always quick to play the puck when it came behind the goal line.

One area in which he was not comfortable was the glove. There were multiple occasions in which he was able to get a glove on the puck, but was not able to catch it creating dangerous opportunities for Carolina’s offense.

The Hurricanes managed only seven shots on goal through the first two periods, but managed some more pressure in the third. The shutout bid was ended in the third when Brock McGinn followed up his own rebound to score Carolina’s first goal of the game. The second goal came on a fluky bounce off the backboards that Janne Kuokkanen was able to whack behind Samsonov before he could get a glove to it.

While Todd Reirden likely hoped Samsonov would be more tested than he was, he was up to the task with 13 saves.

Brian Pinho

The Caps recorded three goals on the night and Pinho had two of them.  In the first period, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby created a turnover on the forecheck. Feeling the pressure, Fredrik Claesson tried a hopeful clear that was cut off at the blue line by Pinho who skated in and tucked the puck through the 5-hole of goalie Anton Forsberg. He scored again in the third period on the power play when his shot deflected off of Jake Bean and took a favorable bounce up before dropping into the net.

Pinho led the Capitals with five points in three games at the 2019 Prospect Showcase, but at 24 years old, he would be expected to play well. He faced slightly better competition on Saturday and still was able to produce with two goals on the night.

Richard Panik

One of the newest Caps, Panik has looked extremely comfortable in both of his preseason games thus far. He was again strong on the penalty kill where he logged 1:35 of ice time. He also looked strong offensively.

Panik played very heavy below the goal line which suits the Caps’ offensive cycle the team likes to utilize. He also showed good vision as, in the third period, he was able to fight off a check and literally kicked the puck out to a wide-open Tavis Boyd in the slot.

With Panik and Carl Hagelin together, the Caps should have a much more formidable penalty kill this season.

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How to watch: Capitals vs. Hurricanes preseason Game 3

How to watch: Capitals vs. Hurricanes preseason Game 3

The Washington Capitals remain undefeated in preseason play, thanks to Tom Wilson's clutch overtime goal and a Nicklas Backstrom bouncing saucer-pass-turned-shot

Saturday night, the Caps will get their first crack at the Carolina Hurricanes, who knocked them out in the first round of the playoffs last season. This game is also the first one that comes after the Caps whittled their roster down after the first round of cuts, which included Caps 2019 draft picks Connor McMichael and Aliaksei Protas.

The Caps will face the Hurricanes in the regular season on October 5 at Capital One Arena in their home opener.

CAPITALS-HURRICANES PRESEASON GAME 3: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Saturday, September, 21, 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Hurricanes preseason game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Hurricanes preseason game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7

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