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Caps Coach Barry Trotz on his future in Washington: ‘I’m part of this team’

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Caps Coach Barry Trotz on his future in Washington: ‘I’m part of this team’

The biggest question facing the Caps as the offseason begins is the status of head coach Barry Trotz, who just finished the fourth year of a four-year contract by leading his team to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship.

Asked directly Saturday if he intends to stick around, Trotz seemed to indicate that he does, indeed, plan to return.

“I’m part of this team,” Trotz said at Nats Park, where the Caps were celebrating their Stanley Cup championship by taking in Nationals vs. Giants.

Trotz, who is fifth in all-time wins, added: “I’m part of this organization. So, yeah, absolutely.”

When pressed on whether he had actually agreed to an extension, though, Trotz tap-danced, cracking that he’s been partying too much since directing the Caps to their first Cup to focus on his future.

“I haven’t even talked…I’m not in any state to talk,” the 55-year-old joked. “I’ve always talked about having really good clarity and calm and all that. I don’t have a lot of clarity right now. And that’s self-inflicted.”

The team, I’m told, has agreed to give Trotz some time to enjoy his team’s accomplishment and reflect on his future before having formal talks about a return.

Will it take a few days before we know something more definitely? A few weeks? That’s unclear.

But we do know this much: resolving Trotz’s contract situation is the team’s top priority. And, oh yeah, he just earned a big raise. 

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Caps finally solve Halak for improbable shootout

Caps finally solve Halak for improbable shootout

The Capitals needed a goal from T.J. Oshie with less than a minute remaining to force overtime on Saturday where they would go on to defeat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a shootout.

It looked like Jaroslav Halak would once again pull off a miraculous win as he turned aside 42 shots, but the Caps kept up the pressure late to tie the game and get back in the win column.

Saturday's win is now Washington's 15th in the last 16 contests against the Bruins.

Here is how the Caps won.

Boyd makes the most of his opportunity

On Friday, Travis Boyd was a Hershey Bear. With Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin both injured but without enough money under the cap for Boyd, the Caps recalled Tyler Lewington on Friday and skated seven defensemen and only 11 forwards against the Montreal Canadiens. On Saturday, the team sent Lewington and Ilya Samsonov to Hershey and recalled Vitek Vanecek and Boyd. The extra cap space the team gained from Vanecek taking Samsonov's spot allowed them to recall Boyd and skate four full forward lines. The impact of Boyd's addition was felt in the first period when Boyd scored a deflection to beat Halak and get the Caps on the board.

In seven games with the Caps this season, Boyd has one goal and four assists.

Caps get their power play setup on 6-on-5

For much of the night, the Caps just could not figure out Halak. They poured on the shots, but he was there each time and looked like he would be able to lead his team to the narrow victory. Late in regulation, the Caps pulled Braden Holtby for the extra attacker and the Caps gave Boston a power play look.

Washington had its top power play unit on the ice plus Tom Wilson. The goal looked like one right out of the power play's playbook with Evgeny Kuznetsov behind the goal line feeding Oshie in the slot. Oshie is great at getting those quick shots away from in close and he finally beat Halak with 59 seconds remaining.

Oshie was instrumental in setting up the goal as well as he blocked a clearing attempt from Zdeno Chara with his glove to keep the puck in the offensive zone just seconds before Kuznetsov set him up for the goal.

Backstrom and Vrana deliver in the shootout

Washington scored only twice on the shootout, but that would be all they needed.

The normally automatic Oshie was stopped on his shootout attempt putting Washington behind early on.I n a score-or-go-home situation for Nicklas Backstrom, he managed to sneak a shot in between the glove and the pad of Halak to force extra rounds of the shootout. Then Jakub Vrana pulled off one of the nices shootout goals you will ever see.

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6 things to know for Caps-Bruins

6 things to know for Caps-Bruins

After seeing their 13-game point streak snapped on Friday, the Capitals (14-3-4) will look to rebound in a quick turnaround on Saturday against the Boston Bruins (12-3-4). You can catch all the action on NBC Sports Washington with Caps FaceOff Live kicking things off at 6 p.m. before Caps Pregame Live begins at 6:30 p.m. to bring you up to the 7 p.m. puck drop. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Postgame Live and Caps Overtime Live.

Here are six things to know for Saturday’s game.

About last night

The Caps lost 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, their first regulation loss since Oct. 14. It was not a great performance for Washington, especially in the second period as the Canadiens scored four goals in the middle frame to take control. Ilya Samsonov got the start and made 36 saves on 40 shots.

There won’t be any added advantage for the Bruins as they also played on Friday, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in Toronto. Brad Marchand led Boston with two goals in the win.

Holtby vs. Halak

Samsonov got the start for Washington on Friday so it will be Braden Holtby in the net on Saturday. The Caps will catch a break though as Tuukka Rask started Friday for Boston. That should mean Washington will face Jaroslav Halak, a goalie in whom the Caps have some...painful history with.

Halak has a 2.68 GAA and .918 save percentage in seven games played this season.

The Caps’ roster is still yet to be determined

With both Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin day-to-day with upper-body injuries, the Caps recalled Tyler Lewington, a defenseman, for Friday’s game. That is not ideal as it gave Washington seven defensemen and only 11 healthy forwards. That could change on Saturday.

The Hershey Bears recalled goalie Parker Milner from the ECHL on Friday while Travis Boyd and Vitek Vanecek were held out of the lineup for the Bears’ game that night. That is telling and would suggest those players will likely be joining the team in Boston. Do not be surprised if you see Samsonov and Lewington reassigned to Hershey and Boyd and Vanecek recalled prior to Saturday’s game.

Vanecek has a lower cap hit than Samsonov. If all the Caps need is a goalie to back up Holtby, Vanecek can do that while freeing up enough cap space to get Boyd back in and fill out the lineup.

These are moves that will be unnecessary if either Hagelin or Dowd is able to return for Saturday’s game, but it is a possible option in case they aren’t.

The best line in hockey?

Boston features arguably the best forward trio in hockey with Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. 

Pastrnak currently leads the league in goals with 16, two more than Ovechkin’s 14. He also has 16 assists. Marchand has 19 goals and 13 assists and Bergeron has eight goals and 11 assists. Marchand and Pastrnak rank third and fourth in the NHL respectively in points with 32 and 31. Tied with Pastrnak is John Carlson who has eight goals and 23 assists.

1st vs. 2nd

Saturday’s game will be between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. Washington’s 32 points are the most in the NHL. Behind them in the East is Boston who sits in second with 28 points.

There are two things you should note about the Bruins’ record. First, Boston has been cold of late. The Bruins jumped out to an 11-1-2 record on the season before losing four straight. Friday’s win snapped that streak.

Second, the Bruins have not lost in regulation in Boston yet this season through 10 games. The Bruins boast a record of 7-0-3 at home. The Caps, however, have been very strong away from Washington and have a road record of 9-1-1.

Caps own the Bruins

Washington and Boston last played on Feb. 3, 2019, a game in which the Caps lost 1-0. That snapped a 14-game win streak for Washington over Boston that stretched back to April 2013. The Caps will look to start a new streak on Saturday, but did last year’s loss signal the end of Washington’s dominance over the Bruins?

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