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Capitals push Carolina to the brink blowing away Hurricanes in Game 5

Capitals push Carolina to the brink blowing away Hurricanes in Game 5

WASHINGTON – After scoring only one goal in the last two games, the offense erupted for the Capitals on Saturday as the Caps dominated the Carolina Hurricanes 6-0 in Game 5. Washington will have a chance to close out the series on Monday as the series shifts back to Raleigh for Game 6.

The Caps were dominant from start to finish, but held only a 1-0 lead midway through the game. Two goals late in the second gave Washington some breathing room and the game turned into a laugher in the third as the Caps poured on three more goals.

 Here are five reasons Washington won.

The role reversal continues

Alex Ovechkin is one of the best goal scorers to ever play the game and Nicklas Backstrom is a phenomenal set-up man. This series has seen those roles reversed and that continued on Saturday.

Backstrom scored the first two goals of the game and now has five in five games this series. Ovechkin, meanwhile, tallied two assists and now has four for the series.

Ovechkin did not get an assist on the first goal, but he essentially set up the play as he broke up a 2-on-1 by the Hurricanes at the blue line. He tipped the puck into the neutral zone and the Caps countered. John Carlson made a backhand pass to Backstrom, but Petr Mrazek read it beautifully and got over in time to make the save. Backstrom got his own rebound, however, and knocked it through the 5-hole.

Ovechkin also scored a goal in the third assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov and...Backstrom.

The penalty kill

Through the first half of the game, the Caps were dominating in just about every aspect of the game. The score was just 1-0, however, and they were playing with fire especially in the second after taking multiple penalties.

Washington was sent to the penalty box three times in the second, all while nursing a 1-0 lead. The penalty kill had to come up huge and it absolutely did, killing off all three second-period penalties plus another in the first period to keep the lead and the momentum all with the Caps.

Warren Foegele’s pass to no one

After killing off the third penalty of the period, Washington struck to take a 2-0 lead thanks to a huge mistake from Warren Foegele. Foegele had the puck at the Caps’ blue line, but was looking for a line change. Instead of dumping the puck into Washington’s zone, Foegele backhanded a pass to the other side of the ice to…no one. It was a completely unforced error and it cost the Hurricanes.

The only person anywhere close to the puck was Ovechkin. He got ahead of steam, grabbed the puck and, since the Hurricanes were on a line change, suddenly the Caps were in behind the defense. Jaccob Slavin came over to challenge Ovechkin with no help on the other side. Ovechkin delivered a perfect pass to Backstrom who scored his second goal of the game.

A bad mistake by Hamilton

Speaking of unforced errors, Dougie Hamilton sees your turnover and raises you a blown icing.

Less than two minutes after Backstrom’s second goal, he tried to return the favor with a long stretch pass from the defensive zone to Ovechkin. The puck went off of Ovechkin’s stick and down the ice. Hamilton, however, apparently did not know Ovechkin had touched the puck and skated very casually after it. It looked like he was assuming the play would be called dead for icing. It wasn’t.

While Hamilton was taking his time, Ovechkin went hard at the puck, cut in front of Hamilton and won it off the boards. He then fed a streaking Brett Connolly for his first goal of the playoffs.

Braden Holtby

Trailing 1-0 and with three power plays, Carolina had every opportunity to get back into this game. They didn’t and Holtby deserves a lot of credit for that. This was easily Holtby’s best game of the series.

Holtby has been good this series and was certainly not the reason Washington lost Games 3 or 4. But sometimes in the playoffs, you need your goalie to steal a few big saves and Holtby had not done that. He came up huge in Game 5 with a number of huge saves when Carolina was threatening to get back into the game.

Holtby totaled 30 saves on the night in the shutout performance. With the shoutout, he set a franchise record for most playoff shutouts with seven. 

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Caps leave All-Star Game with plenty of highlights, but no wins

Caps leave All-Star Game with plenty of highlights, but no wins

ST. LOUIS -- There was no All-Star championship for the Metropolitan Division All-Stars this year. The Metro was not able to defend its crown in 2020 as it fell 9-5 to the Atlantic Division in the first game of the All-Star Game tournament on Saturday.

Despite the early loss, the Capitals certainly left their mark on the event. Here were the highlights:

An ovation for Oshie

T.J. Oshie began his NHL career in St. Louis and remains a fan favorite there even now in the midst of his fifth season in Washington. That was evident when Oshie was introduced to the crowd to thunderous applause.

“I think it's a pretty cool story,” Oshie said. “It's something that I'm going to enjoy telling the kids and grandkids down the road. But I think the coolest part for me was just the cheers from the fans when my name was called a couple times there. I enjoyed playing here. I love playing in D.C. though, but I had some good experiences here, some heartbreaks, some pretty good teams we played on. Just to get back here, just kind of crazy that my first All-Star Game ended up being in St. Louis. It was a great weekend, it was fun, the fans were awesome as always.”

The starting lineup

Todd Reirden went with what he knew to start the game as Oshie and John Carlson both started the game with Braden Holtby in net. The only non-Cap to start was New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal.

The Barzal, Oshie, Carlson trio seemed to find some chemistry through the game and Oshie had nothing but positive things to say of the speedy forward after the game.

“Obviously his skill level's off the charts, just skating, his stickhandling and vision on the ice,” Oshie said. “Obviously we would've liked to put up some more goals, but it's nice trying to get open and have him find me than chase him around the ice and just try to not get made a fool of. It was awesome. He's a great kid. It was nice kind of getting to know him off the ice here these last couple days.”

While Oshie wished for more production, that line actually acquitted itself nicely. Oshie recorded one goal and one assist, Carlson had one goal and Barzal had two assists.

Carlson scores a milestone

The Atlantic Division jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Carlson scored the first goal of the game for the Metro.

Holtby broke up a scoring chance for the Atlantic as he blocked a centering pass with his stick which sparked the breakout in the other direction. Carlson and Barzal had a 2-on-1 opportunity and Barzal set up Carlson for the shot past a helpless Frederik Anderson. Oshie recorded a secondary assist on the goal.

That was not just the Caps’ first goal of the game, it was the first goal by a Caps defenseman at the All-Star Game in franchise history, according to the team. Quite the milestone.

“That’s great,” Carlson said. “I guess I had no idea.”

Oshie scores in St. Louis

I mean, he had to, right? His first All-Star game coming in St. Louis, there was no way Oshie was going to walk away from this game without scoring.

The Metro Division cycled in the offensive zone and Seth Jones dropped the puck off to Oshie near the blue line. He cut up the middle then fired a shot to the corner to beat Anderson, making him the eighth player in Caps’ franchise history to score at an All-Star Game.

Coach Osh in the house

Oshie’s family has always been the talk of Washington because of how adorable his daughters are and that was on full display again on Saturday. But it was Oshie’s dad who stole the show.

Oshie’s father suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. That makes traveling very difficult. After Oshie’s goal, however, the broadcast cut to Oshie waving up to his father who had been able to make the trip to St. Louis.

“It's always great to have Coach Osh around,” Oshie said. “He missed our fathers' trip this year, it's kind of hard for him to travel, but we were able to make it work for him to come to St. Louis where a lot of the people you see working down here behind the scenes probably know him better than they know me, so he got to see some old friends. Just special to have him here to witness my first All-Star Game in person.”

Oshie added, “There's certain milestones that I've made in my career that I want him to be a part of if he's able to make it and this was one of them He came to St. Louis quite a bit when I played and he has a lot of friends here, a lot of people that treat him really good as well. This was something that I didn't want him to miss."

Holtby ends on a high-note

Let’s face it, the All-Star Game does not favor the goalies. A 3-on-3 tournament is meant to promote as much scoring as possible. As a result, it is often a tough night for the netminders and that was true for Holtby who made five saves on nine shots in his single period of play. But Holtby was able to end his night on a high note with one of the top saves of the game.

David Pastrnak set up Shea Weber on the far-side for what looked like a lay-up on Holtby, but Holtby was able to stretch the pad for the fantastic toe save to deny Weber.

“It felt good to make a save,” Holtby said.

“It's difficult, but it's fun too,” Holtby said of the 3-on-3 format. “It's challenging. I think guys are starting to figure it out a little bit more with the cross-ice pass and stuff. But it's fun to be a part of.”

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.

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Oshie gets warm All-Star welcome on St. Louis return, scores with dad in attendance

Oshie gets warm All-Star welcome on St. Louis return, scores with dad in attendance

Former St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie was welcomed back to Enterprise Arena fondly by the NHL All-Star crowd that included his family.

At the end of Oshie's entrance on to the ice, the camera showed plenty of Blues players cheering for him. In seven seasons with St. Louis, Oshie played 443 games and tallied 310 points (110 G, 200 A) and a +71 plus/minus rating. He even served as an alternate captain for his final two seasons before being traded to the Capitals for Troy Brouwer, Pheonix Copley and a 2016 third-round draft pick. 

That wasn't all for Oshie's All-Star performance -- he scored 5:29 into the first period to give the Metropolitan Division team a 3-2 lead.

Oshie is the eighth Capitals player in franchise history to score in the NHL All-Star Game.

Oshie's family, including his dad, Tim, affectionately known as "Coach Osh," was in attendance to witness his first All-Star appearance, making the moment even more special.

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.

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