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Capitals suffer their third straight loss as Tyler Seguin downs them in Dallas

Capitals suffer their third straight loss as Tyler Seguin downs them in Dallas

The Capitals went to Dallas looking to erase the memory of Thursday's ugly loss to St. Louis, but instead they were handed a 2-1 overtime loss by the Stars. The loss was Washington's third straight, marking the first time the Caps have lost three in a row all season. They now sit tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for first in the Metropolitan Division with 52 points, though Washington has a game in hand.

Here are five reasons the Caps lost to Dallas.

Two first period penalties

The Caps were caught sleeping in the third period of Thursday’s game in St. Louis as the Blues outshot them 14-2, scored twice and turned what was a close game into a farce. There seemed to be a bit of a carryover in Dallas on Friday.

Washington actually looked pretty good at the start, but a Matt Niskanen hooking penalty early did not allow the Caps to build any momentum. A second penalty resulted in Dallas’ first goal. Through the first 20 minutes, Washington was outshot 15-5, had taken two penalties and drawn none and were fortunate to be down only 1-0.

A failed clear

When you have a chance to clear the puck on a penalty kill and fail, it always comes back to haunt you.

The Stars took a 1-0 lead in the first period off a power play goal from Tyler Seguin. The goal should never have happened, however, as Travis Boyd had a chance to clear the puck out of the zone seconds before hand. The puck was on his stick with no one around him, but he took his eye off of it and lost control as he turned to fire it down the ice. The Stars recovered and scored soon after.

The power play

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the power play came up short for the Caps in this game with no goals on three opportunities. To be fair, the power play did seem to play better as the game went along, but Washington had two power plays in the third period in a 1-1 game and failed to score on either opportunity. With the game on the line, the Caps have to find a way to score there.

Washington now has one goal on their last 27 power plays opportunities through their last nine games. It's hard to win with a 3.7-percent power play.

The ice

You could tell watching the game that the ice was not great. The players seemed to have trouble controlling the puck and it got worse as the game went along. For a Caps team that likes passing the puck and setting up quality opportunities rather than firing the puck on net, those are not ideal conditions.

When the puck is hard to control, you are better off shooting the puck as early and as much as possible because it is hard to control passes and set up plays. Washinton's third power play of the night was their best as they were able to finally set up their power play, but when the puck kept bouncing on them when they tried to shoot including one bounce on Ovechkin that caused him to whiff on a dangerous opportunity.

Missing the back door

Seguin's second goal of the night was the game-winner as he fired a shot from the backdoor after a great play by Alexander Radulov to set him up. In three-on-three overtime, defensive responsibilities are largely man on man. Nicklas Backstrom was initially in good position in front of his net, but when Niskanen covered Radulov, he needed to keep track of Seguin. Seguin went to the backdoor and Backstrom stayed where he was giving Seguin a wide-open shot to finish the game.

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Capitals service dog Captain wins Sports Dog of the Year

Capitals service dog Captain wins Sports Dog of the Year

As if any other candidate would even come close, Captain was named Sports Dog of the Year on Friday afternoon.

The four-legged phenom has been everywhere this fall, making his presence felt all over the DMV, and his popularity has extended nationwide.

Captain doesn't take days off and is always ready to have some fun.

He was there to maintain the peace during the biggest shopping day of the year and he made sure your Cyber Monday gifts arrived on time. 

He inspires greatness and has been a driving force behind the Mystics' WNBA Title as well as the Nationals' World Series victory.

He knows when its time to put in the work as well. He's always on time for meetings, and he has never missed a practice.

He's preparing to assist a Veteran or First Responder one day, and he's already making progress.

And he's always ready to celebrate.

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D.C. youth coaching legend Neal Henderson gets his due with U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction

D.C. youth coaching legend Neal Henderson gets his due with U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction

WASHINGTON — For 40 years Neal Henderson has given underprivileged kids the chance to play hockey at Fort Dupont Ice Arena.

On Thursday, Henderson was honored for his life’s work with induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Henderson was inducted along with NHL greats Tim Thomas and Brian Gionta, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and U.S. Olympian Krissy Wendell. He heard kind words spoken about his program, the Fort Dupont Cannons, from the likes of Bettman, Alex Ovechkin and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and also received a video tribute. 

It’s been quite a week for Henderson, who drew a sustained ovation from the crowd at Tuesday’s Capitals-Boston Bruins game when acknowledged on the big video board at Capital One Arena. 

“It’s amazing. Something I never believed I could be a part of,” Henderson said. “It’s the zenith of my life other than being married and having a son. I’ve enjoyed what I have done. I didn’t do it for the reasons of being here. I did it for the love of kids and the parents who trusted me with their children.”  

Henderson said he “became completely numb” when he got the phone call learning he’d be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. The Cannons developmental program, based at Fort Dupont, is designed to help local underprivileged kids play an expensive sport that is out of reach for many. Fort Dupont features the oldest minority hockey league in North America. 

It’s not a route to the NHL. But Henderson has helped kids play high school and college hockey, passing on the lessons he’s learned over decades: That hard work and character matter. That education is crucial. He believes hockey helps forge those traits. The Cannons give kids a chance to travel to other cities to play games. They were an integral part of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone campaign, which seeks to broaden the sport, make it more inclusive, help better communities.

A clip showed during Ovechkin’s tribute video after being named the Wayne Gretzky International Award recipient at Thursday’s induction dinner, showed the Stanley Cup at Fort Dupont with the Cannons. That was Ovechkin’s idea, according to Leonsis.

“I asked Alex ‘Where do you want to go?’ He said ‘I want to see kids at Georgetown Cancer Center.” And we went there. And then he wanted to pay homage to Coach Neal,” Leonsis said. “And so we went to Fort Dupont. It’s great that he’s here.”

Henderson said he hoped his induction would help encourage more people of color to embrace hockey. He started the program in the late 1970s thinking he’d simply get his son through the program, which works with kids ages 8 to 18. But he just kept going – in part because kids kept coming to the Cannons and in part because he just couldn’t refuse them. Decades later he’s still here working with them. 

“A lot of people don’t feel that they have the opportunity when it’s right at their back door,” Henderson said. “If they take just one more step they’ll find that there are people out there that’s willing to help them. All you have to do is be there willing to make sure they get the chance.”

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