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Capitals and Blue Jackets meet for first time after bird taunt

Capitals and Blue Jackets meet for first time after bird taunt

The last time the Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets met, Columbus earned a big overtime win on Washington’s home ice on Jan. 12. That loss would be the first of what would turn into a seven-game losing streak for the Caps.

But the defeat did not turn out to be the most newsworthy event of the night. Instead, it was what happened immediately afterward that stole all the headlines.

Artemi Panarin scored the overtime winner and was immediately mobbed by teammates who began mocking the Caps by doing Evgeny Kuznetsov’s bird celebration.

“I'm assuming that's a little bit bitter,” Tom Wilson said after the game. “I'll leave it at that.”

Kuznetsov tied the game late in the third period and busted out his signature celebration. Perhaps the Blue Jackets were upset by that.

It seems more likely, however, that Columbus may not have gotten over the fact that they had the Stanley Cup champions down 2-0 in their first round series last season and ended up losing four straight.

Games can always get contentious, but in the notoriously buttoned-up world of professional hockey teams will rarely openly taunt another after a game.

That was not just a team being supper happy about a mid-January win, that was a team that wanted to stick it to a budding rival.

"That's fine,” Kuznetsov said. “It's nice to get some people that think about me, same as in April last year.”

Washington will look to return the favor on Tuesday as they travel to Columbus (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington), the first game of a six-game road trip for the Caps.

Tuesday game will be exactly one month after Columbus’ win. You should not expect Washington to have forgotten about the Blue Jackets’ postgame celebration.

“I think they can remember what happened, we can remember what happened and it's a rivalry now,” Wilson said. “A team knocks you out, you're not going to be happy about it so we're going to keep going and I'm sure there will be a few more down the road where you'll see a little animosity.”

Game notes

Red-hot Kuznetsov

Speaking of Kuznetsov, he is red hot with five goals and five assists in his last four games. Both of his goals Monday even came at 5-on-5, an area in which he has struggled to score this season.

Braden Holtby starts

Pheonix Copley got the nod for Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings meaning Braden Holtby will be available to play Columbus. Since returning from the All-Star break, Holtby is 2-1-1 with a .917 save percentage and 2.75 GAA.

One last time?

Tuesday’s game will be the last of four meetings between these two teams this season. The Caps are 1-1-1 in the season series. The home team has yet to win between these two teams.

As this is their last meeting, it could also be the last time Washington plays against Panarin and/or Sergey Bobrovsky as Blue Jackets. Both players are on the final year of their contracts and both could possibly be on the move at the trade deadline.

The four-point game

No, it’s not too early to be watching the standings. Washington currently holds second place in the Metropolitan Division with 69 points and Columbus sits in third with 65. A regulation win for the Caps would give Washington a six-point lead over the Blue Jackets while a regulation loss would pull Columbus to within two points.


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Former Capitals forward Brett Connolly offers options to take tangible action against racism

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Former Capitals forward Brett Connolly offers options to take tangible action against racism

The senseless murder of George Floyd has shed light on the racism that still exists within America. In the wake of his tragic death, there are many who want to take action but are not sure how. Brett Connolly is here to help.

The former Capitals forward tweeted out a heartfelt message on Tuesday in response to a Tweet from J.T. Brown.

Connolly then took the extra step of Tweeting out a number of ways to take tangible action against racism including organizations you can support and donate to, places you can contact and movies you can watch to learn more.

Connolly was largely a soft-spoken player in his three seasons in Washington, but he did decline an invite to the White House extended to the Capitals as Stanley Cup champions. Connolly would not go into detail on why.

Connolly left Washington as a free agent in the summer and is in his first season with the Florida Panthers.


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Capitals' John Carlson shares message of support for protesters, commits to being part of solution

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Capitals' John Carlson shares message of support for protesters, commits to being part of solution

John Carlson took to Instagram on Tuesday to voice his support for those protesting and the Black Lives Matter movement, as America comes to grips with civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd.

"#BlackLivesMatter. Like many, I grieve the senseless murder of George Floyd and countless other black Americans. The racism that plagues our country is unacceptable. While as a white man I have not experienced racism and its anguish firsthand, I stand in support of those who have and acknowledge the need to deeply transform as a country," his Instagram post read.

Carlson's message also included a call to action for his followers, encouraging everyone to become a part of the solution. Understanding the platform he has as an athlete, he did not want his voice to go unheard.

"We have to do better to eliminate all forms of racism and inspire positive, permanent change. I have always believed that actions speak louder than words, but I felt it was necessary and important to add my voice to help advance things in any way I can. I am committed to using my position to learn, listen and be a part of the solution."

Carlson joins those in the Capitals community such as Alex Ovechkin and the Holtby family, as well as numerous other figures and teams in the sports world, in voicing support. 

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