Quick Links

Capitals give up 5 goals to Mika Zibanejad in back-and-forth overtime loss to Rangers

Capitals give up 5 goals to Mika Zibanejad in back-and-forth overtime loss to Rangers

Mika Zibanejad scored five goals, including the overtime winner on Thursday, as the Capitals fell 6-5 to the Rangers. Washington battled back from deficits of 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 and 5-4 to force overtime, but Zibanejad got the breakaway to finish off the storybook night and end the Caps' hopes of escaping New York with two points.

With the Philadelphia Flyers' win on Thursday, they now pull even with Washington for first in the Metropolitan Division.

Here is how the Caps lost.

5 goals for Mika Zibanejad

Zibanejad killed the Caps with a five-goal performance, and he did it with very timely goals. Zibanejad erased a strong start for Washington by tipping in a shot from Artemi Panarin less than two minutes after Carl Hagelin gave the Caps the 1-0 lead. He then one-timed a shot on a delayed penalty early in the second to give New York the 2-1 lead. With the game tied 3-3 heading into the third, Zibanejad scored just 12 seconds in to complete the hat trick. He then scored his fourth of the game with less than two minutes remaining for a go-ahead power-play goal.

Once the game went to overtime, of course Zibanejad was there for the poetic ending. Dmitry Orlov moved up and Tom Wilson needed to drop back to account for that. He was late getting there leaving Zibanejad open for the breakaway. At that point, there was never any doubt that he was going to finish off the game.

No momentum

A troubling trend for the Caps is their inability to build and sustain any momentum at all. Like Wednesday's loss to the Flyers, Washington got off to a great start. The Caps drew a penalty less than two minutes in, the power play looked much improved even if it didn't score, and Hagelin made it 1-0. They then proceeded to give up the game-tying goal less than two minutes in. Ilya Kovalchuk tied the game at 2 in the second period with his first goal as a Cap and Washington gave up a goal to Tony DeAngelo less than two minutes later.

DeAngelo sneaks in behind Ovechkin

The Rangers entered the offensive zone and kicked the puck out to the blue line. Alex Ovechkin was high in the zone covering the defense. Tony DeAngelo backed up along the blue line, then wheeled into the offensive zone behind Ovechkin. Ovechkin reacted late and Panarin found DeAngelo with the cross-ice pass which he roofed into the net.

Kuznetsov's gaffe

New York scored just 12 seconds into the third period off an egregiously terrible play by Evgeny Kuznetsov. The puck was dumped into Washington's zone and Kuznetsov went to retrieve it. He then just...whiffed. He missed the puck completely and pulled up, allowing an easy steal for Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich backhanded the puck to Zibanejad in front of the net and he shot it in before Ilya Samsonov really knew what happened.

3rd period penalties

Washington kept battling back and Ovechkin scored to tie the game at 4. The Caps then proceeded to take three penalties over the course of 4:01. Lars Eller was called for roughing, Carlson for cross-checking and Eller was sent back to the box for high-sticking. Washington killed off the first two penalties, but Zibanejad scored on the third power play to give New York the late lead.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


Quick Links

Why goalies will have the hardest time adjusting to NHL's return, per Joe Beninati

Why goalies will have the hardest time adjusting to NHL's return, per Joe Beninati

With commissioner Gary Bettman's announcement of the NHL's plan for returning to play, hockey fans and players alike can begin to gear up for a 24-team postseason frenzy at some point this summer. 

Teams will have time to shake the rust off in training camp since the league went on hiatus nearly three months ago. July 1 is the earliest camp can begin. Players like Capitals defenseman John Carlson, who admittedly hasn't touched his skates since March, will have to get back in shape quickly before the first puck drops. 

However, Capitals play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati thinks the skaters will be fine. It's the goalies that face the biggest challenge getting back to where they were when the season was suspended.

"I think the goaltending is going to be the most difficult to return," Beninati said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "These guys keep themselves in great shape, they'll get reacclimated, their skating muscles will return in that two-week cap period. For goalies, it's especially difficult to get that timing back and the goaltending role is so explosive. They're asking their bodies to do so many things so reflexively, so powerfully, and quickly that you may be dealing with injuries there."


Beninati also noted that with expanded rosters under this new format, teams should be able to carry as many goaltenders as they like along with 28 skaters. While having to start your third or fourth goalie in a playoff game may not be an ideal situation if players start getting hurt left and right, it's at least good the league has a preventative measure in place. 

One of the most important aspects of playoff success in the NHL is goaltending. Even if training camp begins on July 1, that'd be nearly four months to make up for physically and mentally with an apparent increased risk of injury. Then you have a massive 24-team field in an NHL playoff setting known for its unpredictability. 

It's probably safe to say the 2020 NHL playoffs will be wild. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


Quick Links

Fans choice should be clear: Why Oshie, Vrana should win 'Best Bromance'

Fans choice should be clear: Why Oshie, Vrana should win 'Best Bromance'

The Capitals have always been home to some impressively strong bromances (see Ovechkin-Backstrom, Chimera-Ward, Wilson-Latta just to name a few) but there might be none better than the developing connection between linemates T.J. Oshie and Jakub Vrana. With the NHL Fan Choice Awards in their final week of voting, we thought we would help jog your memory (in case you’ve forgotten) with five reasons why Oshie and Vrana deserve your vote for Best Bromance in the NHL.

5. You’re great! No, you’re great! No, really, you’re great!

It was clear early on this season that the relationship had gone to new heights and the world got to experience it firsthand on December 11th when Oshie and Vrana paid each other compliments after a spectacular goal by No. 77.

After Oshie dangled the Bruins defense, Vrana was sure enough the first teammate there to celebrate and then after the game, Oshie joked that he had to look down and check his skates to make sure they weren’t Vrana’s based on his speed burst. Quick to the repay the comment, Vrana took to Twitter to compliment his linemate on his silky smooth mitts.

They really are too cute.

4. Checking In During Coronavirus Isolation

Last week, Vrana participated in a cook-off with teammate Jonas Siegenthaler and Oshie tuned in to see how things were going. No less than 10 seconds into joining, Oshie recognized and commented on his bro’s new ‘do!

Even during isolation, Oshie is always checking in on his linemate.

Oshie then continued on to taunt Vrana about what seemed like far too clean a house for his linemate and say that his food looked a little dry. But the best part is just the two of them calling each other “liney” the whole time. If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will.


3. Sit Back and Watch the Shootout Show

Earlier this year, with the All-Star Game approaching in St. Louis, Oshie found himself on the ballot to be the Last Man In from the Metro Division. Who gave the best endorsement? You guessed it, that would be Vrana.

Oshie then invited Vrana to join him as a package deal, but Vrana had other plans: watching with a nice bowl of popcorn from the couch.

2. Bro Shark, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo 

January 5th looked like it was going to be a very disappointing loss for the Capitals. Hosting the San Jose Sharks, a Logan Couture empty-netter with 1:00 left in regulation seemingly sealed the deal for the visitors with a 2-goal cushion. Never say never. 

First, it was Vrana who brought the Caps back within 1 with 47 seconds left. Then, it was his linemate Oshie who tallied the tying goal with just 15 seconds left on the clock. Our NBC Sports Washington cameras caught another intimate moment for the pair when they got back to the bench.

Could they be any cuter?

1. From One Liney to Another

Yes. They could be cuter. Here’s how.

I mean, look at that. C’mon people, this is the best bromance in the NHL and honestly, it’s not even close. Does anyone else have a t-shirt for their bromance? I thought not. Case closed.

Click here to vote (voting ends on Monday, June 1).

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.