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Capitals Goal of the Year Bracket: Ovi Dangles Canes with Wilson vs Ovi Slapshot

Capitals Goal of the Year Bracket: Ovi Dangles Canes with Wilson vs Ovi Slapshot

With less than a month before training camp opens in mid-September, we are taking one last look back at the 2018-19 season as we dive into the best goals of last year. We compiled our bracket based on the cumulative rankings of our Capitals team, from reporters to producers and everyone in between, and now is your turn to help us determine the best Capitals goal of 2018-19. Below is a Slack conversation between members of the Capitals content team.

jmurph: Alright everyone, our bracket starts today with the 1 vs 16 matchup. Alex Ovechkin factoring heavily into both goals. Our #1 rated goal of the season was Ovi's incredible effort in Game 7 against the Hurricanes to set up Tom Wilson and the #16 seed is a vintage Ovi slapper off a faceoff from February 21 against the Leafs. Let's start in on Goal #1, what makes this the best goal of the season?

JJ Regan: Alex Ovechkin's entire career has been full of jaw-dropping moments. Some times we can take that for granted, but what he did in Game 7 was absolutely phenomenal and I can say, without hyperbole, that the play he made to set up Tom Wilson was one of the best plays I have seen Ovechkin make in his entire career.

Ryan Billie: How about the fact that he literally did EVERYTHING on that Wilson goal?

Rob Carlin: The Wilson goal in the playoffs was sick. Ovi was magical with the puck. And it was a big goal - at the moment. But now that’s just part of a bad memory. Give me Ovi one-timers from 40’feet directly into my veins. I go with the ovi extended hours from his office

jmurph: Wow Rob, going for the UMBC takedown on the opening day

JJ Regan: I love the Ovechkin one-timer...but how many times have we seen him score goals exactly like that? The effort to setup Wilson is an all-time highlight even if the Caps ultimately lost that game.

Ryan Billie: Yeah, that’s a surprise. I don’t think the circumstances of the game take away from the fact it was an outrageous effort. One of the best I’ve ever seen.

Rob Carlin: Yes! Sorry Wahoo Wa. Find me 5 guys who score on that shot.

jmurph: Effort aside, was the goal good?

Ryan Billie: Find me 5 dudes that make that play to Wilson.

JJ Regan: That is really the only argument. The play to setup the goal was great...but was the goal itself?

bmcnally: The goal is still sick. Credit to Wilson for realizing Ovi is playing like he's in a video game and shading away from goal a bit to give him the space to finish the pass

jmurph: Going back to the slapshot, it's crazy how we just think that it's normal to be able to do that with such ease because we've seen Ovi do it so many times

Rob Carlin: The goal was sick. I remember literally jumping out of my seat. Just don’t penalize a 40 foot slap shot just because he’s scored 400 of those.

timmcdonough: the Ovi effort immediately reminded me of the behind-the-back off-the-wall goal against Montreal.. which some people say is his best ever. Plus, nothing better than an Ovechkin rush at home where the entire crowd is standing before the puck hits the net

Ryan Billie: ^^^

bmcnally: That really was a great :"Roman Hamrlik" goal call back from 2009

Rob Carlin: TMac from the top rope! That’s a solid argument

bmcnally: The only real difference is this time he stayed on his feet and had someone with him

JJ Regan: Plus, he didn't actually score the goal, it was Wilson.

Ryan Billie: And it’s crazy, because when Ovi is open for a slap shot, you can feel the air get let out of the arena because you know what’s coming... every time he touches the puck, you just never know what’s gonna happen.

JJ Regan: There is something to be said about how incredible it is that everyone knows what Ovechkin is about to do and you just can't stop it.

jmurph: JJ are you leaning towards Rob on this one? Voting for a 16-1 upset right off the bat?

JJ Regan: Absolutely not. Just giving credit where credit is due. The Ovechkin one-timer is great, but the set up on Wilson's goal is better. An all-time highlight in a highlight career.

Rob Carlin: That’s my argument, JJ. It’s been done 400 times. Yet no one can stop it. When his stick goes up, just waiting, the excitement builds. Every time. He scored this one from 42 feet away. With no screen. Sick.

timmcdonough: I will say this about the other goal... people don’t realize how much preparation and coordination goes into scoring that fast off a faceoff. Clean win, quick pass, off-balance rocket, all in like 3.7 seconds

Ryan Billie: It’s the equivalent of a Steph Curry deep 3. We’re so used to them now they don’t seem special. But they are.

jmurph: I love me some Nic Dowd backhand sauce for 40 feet but I think the Ovi slapper got the shaft here on our list coming in at 16 against an all-timer

Rob Carlin: I’m not dying on this hill. That goal vs Carolina was all world. As Johnny said in the video, he almost threw me off the balcony when it happened. I just love Ovi one timers from way downtown.

JJ Regan: Don't bust my bracket on the first goal! Give me Ovechkin to Wilson!

bmcnally: Yeah I'm definitely going for the playmaking goal with Wilson. It's just so ridiculous someone that size can do that. But before we bury the slapper just wanted to give it the respect it deserves. It's a 16 seed that took the 1 seed deep into the second half before fading

Ryan Billie: Is Carlin pulling a Homer and backing into the bushes??

JJ Regan: That is well done

Rob Carlin: I’m basically just a lawyer in a trial who knows he’s gonna lose but wants his point on record and in the minds of the jury.

jmurph: So it seems like we are all in agreement, if this #16 Ovi slapper comes up against most goals, it might get the nod, but not on this day. Chalk it up and #1 moves on.

Ryan Billie: Not just moves on... but covers as well.

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Capitals and Bruins put on a show worthy of Stanley Cup playoffs

Capitals and Bruins put on a show worthy of Stanley Cup playoffs

WASHINGTON — There are only a handful of nights like Wednesday during the course of an NHL season. 
 
Players and coaches grind their way through 82 games with one running into the next. Sometimes, for the very best teams, the Stanley Cup playoffs can seem like a desert mirage off in the far distance. 
 
The Capitals and Bruins reminded us what the spring will bring during Washington’s 3-2 win on Wednesday. The NHL’s two best teams gave us physical play, great goaltending and world-class skill all in one wildly entertaining package. 
 
“No matter where you are in the standings, games against those teams, Boston, Tampa, games like that, in a way they are measuring stick games,” Capitals forward T.J. Oshie said. “You want to see how you measure up to what they are bringing that particular year or that particular time during the season. Tonight was no different.”
 
Oshie scored twice – one after a spectacular inside-out move that stands as Washington’s goal of the year so far. John Carlson continued piling up the points with an assist and the game-winning goal in the third period off a pass from Nicklas Backstrom. 
 
These Capitals, playing against a Bruins team that came within a game of the Stanley Cup last season, continue to show they measure up. The roster has turned over some, but the fight hasn’t gone out of the 2018 championship team yet. 
 
“The crowd was into it a little bit more than your average game,” Carlson said. “I think both teams were flying around, going that extra step to hit someone all the time and that sort of thing. It was a fun game, it was fun to play in. Still not playoffs.”
 
No, not yet. Carlson has been through all this before. He has played on three teams that won the Presidents’ Trophy (2009-10, 2015-16, 2016-07) and none of them made it out of the second round of the playoffs. 
 
The Capitals are just happy to be where they are, now five points clear of Boston for the NHL’s best record and with a nine-point lead in the Metropolitan Division over the New York Islanders and the rest of their rivals. 
 
But they know none of it will matter in mid-April. The slate gets wiped clean and they will have to beat the Islanders or the Hurricanes or the Flyers or maybe the Penguins – isn’t it always the Penguins - four times in seven games. And then they’d have do it again with one of those teams in the second round. Only then would they even get a crack at these Bruins - or maybe the Tampa Bay Lightning - once more in the Eastern Conference Final. 
 
There are still 49 games to go before all of that and upsets are a fact of life in the playoffs so you might as well enjoy the journey to get there. So far, Washington (23-5-5, 51 points) is off to the second-best start in team history through 33 games. 
 
Only the 2015-16 Presidents’ Trophy winner was better at 25-6-2 with 52 points. That group also led the Islanders by nine points in the Metro Division race at this point in the season. It’s a comfortable place to be and a nice cushion for the endless, cold nights of winter when illness or injuries strike and the schedule wears you down and you lose a couple of games in a row and frustration sets in. 
 
That will happen at some point for these Capitals. It’s inevitable over the course of a long season. But if Wednesday tells them anything, it’s that they still have that reserve of confidence to rally even against the very best teams in the league. 
 
Down 2-1 in the second period, Oshie banged home his own rebound when left alone in front. And 3:30 later he undressed the Boston defense and beat goalie Jaroslav Halak with a backhand roof shot that left the crowd unhinged and Washington ahead.  
 
It wasn’t an easy game. The Capitals had to kill five Boston power plays and their video department helped save the game by getting a Bruins goal overturned on replay after a missed offsides call. That kept the score 1-0. Washington might “own” Boston at 16-1 in the past 17 games, but no one thinks that would mean much in any playoff series. Instead, nights like this are a dress rehearsal for the games that matter most. 
 
“Our team usually plays better against teams like that, teams that work hard, play an honest, hard game structurally,” goalie Braden Holtby said. “It's fun for us to play in those games, especially in the regular season. It kind of feels more like a playoff style. We've been fortunate to have success, but there's been a lot of real close games against them the last little bit, games that make us better in the long run."

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Capitals at Lightning: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Capitals at Lightning: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

After winning in a thriller on Wednesday over the Boston Bruins, the Capitals look to make it two wins in a row and five of their last six when they travel to Tampa on Saturday to face the Lightning.

Earlier this season, the Capitals edged the Lightning 4-3 in an overtime thriller, a contest that saw Washington come back from a 3-1 third period deficit.

Washington currently leads the Eastern Conference with 51 points, while a slow start to 2019 leaves the Lightning with just 33.

Here's how to catch the action. 

Capitals-Lightning: How to Watch

What: Game 34 of the NHL regular season

Who: Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning

When: Wednesday, December 14, 2019, at 7 p.m.

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida

TV Channel: Capitals-Lightning game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports channel finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Lightning on NBC Sports live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7

Capitals-Lightning TV Schedule

6:00 PM: Caps FaceOff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

Capitals-Bruins Lightning Injury Report

Capitals: None

Lightning: Braydon Coburn, D (lower body, out indefinitely)

Capitals-Lightning Players to Watch

T.J. Oshie, W, Capitals: Oshie dazzled in the Caps victory on Wednesday, finishing with a pair of goals, including this beauty. After not scoring in the four games prior, Oshie will look to continue his hot hand into Saturday's contest against Tampa.

Steven Stamkos, C, Lightning: After a six-game stretch without scoring, Stamkos has found the back of the net four times in the past three games. He'll look to avenge a pointless showing that he had during the Lightning's November loss to Washington.

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