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Caps earn first-ever season sweep of Rangers thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s bizarre shootout goal

Caps earn first-ever season sweep of Rangers thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s bizarre shootout goal

The Capitals were again taken down to the wire by the New York Rangers, but Alex Ovechkin won in a shootout as Alex Georgiev threw his stick on Ovechkin's attempt giving him the automatic goal and the 3-2 win.

Here are five reasons the Caps won.

A quick response

For the fifth straight time, Washington gave up a goal in the first four minutes of the game as Ryan Strome scored just 45 seconds in. Luckily for Washington, they did not trail for very long.

Carl Hagelin took a puck along the wall and tried to cut toward the net and backhanded a pass to the middle. The pass was blocked by a sliding Libor Hajek, but Georgiev had already slid off the post in anticipation of the pass. The blocked puck came right back to Hagelin who fired the quick shot to the empty space Georgiev had left open.

The goal came just 1:18 after Strome’s quick goal.

Todd Reirden’s lineup change

Reirden used the same players from Friday’s win over the New York Islanders, but there was one small change to the lineup. Up to the third line was Hagelin while Andre Burakovsky moved down to the fourth. Reirden had made that switch in the third period of Friday’s game and he stuck with it for Sunday. The move quickly paid off.

Hagelin scored just 2:03 into the game and Andre Burakovsky added a goal of his own at 10:02. Burakovsky entered the zone along the right, cut to the middle and waited for Nick Jensen to plant himself right in front of the face of Alex Georgiev.

Dominant possession

For the second straight game, Washington completely dominated possession with a 59.76-percent Corsi-For percentage.

The second period was particularly dominant for Washington as they outshot the Rangers 20-7. The difference for New York was Georgiev. He robbed Ovechkin, preventing him from getting goal No. 46 on the season as he stretched out the blocker just in time to keep the shot out. He also had a kick save late in the third to deny Tom Wilson right on the doorstep and another big save to deny an Ovechkin breakaway in overtime.

If not for Georgiev, the Caps could have and should have been running away with this game through 40 minutes.

Braden Holtby

Holtby was not nearly as tested as his counterpart Georgiev, but when he was, he came up big. Holtby made an incredible save off the mask to deny a wide-open Pavel Buchnevich on overtime. He finished the game with 22 saves on 24 shots and also stopped two out of four shots on the shootout, making a nice glove save on Mika Zibanejad.

A thrown stick

Ovechkin had a chance to win the game in the shootout. He skated in on Georgiev, deked and looked like he had Georgiev beat. Georgiev then let go of his stick and it slid to knock the puck off the stick of Ovechkin denying him the shot. Ovechkin immediately protested and the referees discussed the play. Originally, the referees decided it was a failed opportunity for Ovechkin, but the horn soon blew from Toronto. After further discussing things with the war room, the goal was correctly awarded giving the Caps the 3-2 win.

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Sergei Ovechkin meets baby brother Ilya

Sergei Ovechkin meets baby brother Ilya

Where would we be through this pause in the NHL season without baby news? Alex Ovechkin is now a father of two with the birth of his son Ilya on Wednesday. After a few years of Sergei stealing the hearts of Capitals fans, no doubt Ilya will be as cute and fans can't wait to meet him...but we'll have to get in line.

Before we can meet Ilya, he first had to meet big brother Sergei. Luckily, the moment was captured on camera and shared on Instagram.

It's as adorable as you would expect.

Let's get these kids on the ice!

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Report: NHL training camps won't start before July 10

Report: NHL training camps won't start before July 10

Tuesday's announcement of the NHL's return to play plan was a step in the right direction towards resuming the 2019-20 season, but we are still a long way off from that point. According to a report from TSN's Pierre LeBrun, NHL training camps will not start before July 10.

That does not mean July 10 is now the set return date, it simply means training camps will not begin before then.

The NHL has organized its return to play plan into four phases. Opening training camps is considered Phase 3 of that plan. The league is still in Phase 1, which is self-isolation.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday he was hopeful Phase 2, players returning to team facilities for voluntary activities, could begin in late June. Even if that were the case, an early July return for training camps would have been ambitious. Given that, the report that camps would not be able to return until at least mid-July should come as no surprise.

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As for how this will affect the 2020-21 season, the NHL has been adamant that it intends to hold a full 82-game season, even if it means pushing the start back into December and cutting out both the All-Star game and bye weeks. For now, there is no reason to think that plan will change based on LeBrun's report.

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