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Caps get revenge on Stars, snap losing streak

Caps get revenge on Stars, snap losing streak

The Capitals held a 2-0 lead heading into the third period and this time they were able to close. Washington earned a rare road victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday, snapping a three-game losing streak with the 4-1 win.

How rare is a Caps' victory in Dallas? The last time Washington beat the Stars in Dallas was Dec. 19, 2017. The last time the Caps won in regulation in Dallas? For that, you have to go all the way back to Oct. 17, 1995

Observations from the win

Caps protect the lead with offense, not defense

Heading into the third period, Dallas had the Caps right where they wanted them as they trailed 2-0. OK, so that's a stretch, but Dallas was probably feeling pretty confident they could come back given that they did it on Tuesday in Washington and that the Caps had blown a third-period lead in three straight games.

In the first game between these two teams on Tuesday, the Caps led 2-1 heading into the third period. They did not get a single shot on goal until past the midway point of the period after the game was already tied at 2. It was a very different story on Saturday as the Caps realized, hmm, maybe scoring more goals may actually help get the win.

Washington was much more aggressive with the lead in the third period than we have seen the last few games, drawing a penalty about three minutes in and extending the lead to 3-0 with a power play goal.

Shots on goal were 8-7 for Dallas in the last 20 minutes. That’s how you protect a lead.

Samsonov looks pretty darn good

For anyone who got a chance to see Ilya Samsonov play in Hershey last year, he looks like a completely different player. His play was very frantic last season and not always in the “Dominik Hasek, make a save in any way you have to” sort of way. Samsonov looked more calm and controlled than you would expect for a 22-year-old making his second NHL start.

So what does this mean? Has Samsonov earned more playing time? Sure. He has two starts in six games and that is a ratio the Caps should definitely try to stick to for now. There is no reason for Todd Reirden to try to force extra starts for Holtby.

Should Samsonov take over as the No. 1? Let’s pump the brakes. It’s just two games and, let’s face it, Samsonov got a heck of a lot more help from the defense on Saturday.

Here’s the 5-on-5 heat map from Saturday's game (from Natural Stat Trick):

And here it is from Thursday's game in Nashville (from Natural Stat Trick):

Holtby did not get much net-front help at all against the Predators.

The fourth line is a home run for Brian MacLellan

We are six games in so you should be careful about drawing any conclusions from what we have seen. Having said that, I am going to anyway. MacLellan did a hell of a job upgrading the fourth line.

Garnet Hathaway adds some grit, Brendan Leipsic adds speed and both players have a lot more skill than you would expect from a fourth line. Their work on the forecheck led to John Carlson’s goal in the second period.

The phrase “rolling lines” is almost cliche at this point. Everyone says it, but when it matters no one does it (except for Mike Babcock because why play Auston Matthews in a Game 7 when you can play your fourth line for 20 minutes?). Hathaway is not about to top Alex Ovechkin in time on ice, but being able to give the fourth line consistent playing time even in the third period is a huge asset.

Too many penalties

The Caps were called for six minor penalties on Saturday. The penalty kill was great and killed off all six, but you are not going to win many games taking six penalties a night. That’s too many.

Turning point

You know what is easier than protecting a two-goal lead? Protecting a three-goal lead.

Obviously when you are leading 2-0 in the third period you are in a good position, but you could be forgiven for not having a ton of confidence heading into the third period after seeing what happened the last three games.

Kuznetsov’s early third period goal set the tone and let everyone know this game was going to be different.

Play of the night

How different is the game if Samsonov lets this one in with the score 1-0?

Stat of the night

The last time the Caps earned a regulation win in Dallas was Oct. 17, 1995. Three players in the lineup on Saturday -- Samsonov, Jakub Vrana and Jonas Siegenthaler -- had not even been born yet.

Quote of the night

John Carlson on protecting the third period lead:

“We talked about it enough the past couple days and certainly today going into the third so I think that first couple shifts really got everyone on board doing the right things and carried the momentum there.”

Fan predictions

Confidence and optimism are not usually a strong suit for Washington sports fans, but you got it.

Well, you were half right.

He came close. Just one wraparound goal away.

Caps must break you.


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

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

When the Capitals play the Bruins it is always a must-see contest.

Two of the biggest hitters in the league have quite the history against each other in Brad Marchand and Tom Wilson. Expect more of the same when they meat again on Saturday night. 

The Caps will be without Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin, calling up defenseman Tyler Lewington in their place.

The Caps have not lost in regulation since Oct. 14. and it is now Nov. 15 and Washington has gone a full month without suffering a single regulation loss. The Caps have points in 13 straight games and have won 11 of their last 13.

Here is everything you need to know about the Saturday nights game, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


What: Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins, Game 22 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals at Bruins game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Bruins on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM


6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Capitals at Bruins

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live


Capitals: LW Carl Hagelin, upper body, day-to-day 

C Nic Dowd, upper body, day-to-do

Bruins: RW, Zach Senyshyn, lower body, day-to-day

D Trey Krug, upper body, day-to-day

RW Brett Ritchie, upper body, day-to-day

LW Jake DeBrusk, lower body, day-to-day

RW David Backes, upper body, day-to-day

C Karson Kuhlman, leg, day-to-day

D Kevan Miller, knee, day-to-day

D John Moore, shoulder, day-to-day



John Carlson, D: No. 74 has been the best offensive defenseman in the NHL through the first month and a half of the season. He leads all defensemen with 30 points, with Carolina's Dougie Hamilton the next closest with 21. 

T.J. Oshie, RW: After totaling 11 points in 14 games in October, Oshie has just three points in six games in November. Finding the back of the net will be tough for Oshie, as the Bruins allow just 2.39 goals per game, the NHL's fourth-best.


David Pastrnack, RW: Pastrnack has 31 points in 18 games; only Edmonton's Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have more points in the NHL this season. The Bruins are on a four-game losing streak, and the winger has only one point over that span. Look for him to get back on track against the Capitals.

Brad Marchand, C: Marchand is neck-in-neck with his Pastrnack in points this season, as Marchand trails Pastrnack by just one. The duo will look to continue their early-season success in their first matchup with the Caps this season.


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6 things to know for Caps-Canadiens: Man down for the Caps

6 things to know for Caps-Canadiens: Man down for the Caps

After a quick trip to Philadelphia, the Capitals (14-2-4) return home to host the Montreal Canadiens (10-5-3) for a Friday night matchup. 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, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.

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

Man down

Carl Hagelin took the ice in a non-contact jersey for Friday’s morning skate and will not play in the game. Nic Dowd did not participate and is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He had a large gash in his hand late in the game against Philadelphia. That leaves the Caps with only 17 healthy skaters on the roster. A full lineup has 18 skaters.

Todd Reirden said the coaches would meet after the skate to determine who to call from Hershey. The fact that there is a discussion suggests that at the very least they are considering recalling someone other than Travis Boyd.

Here are the lines from Friday’s skate:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Lars Eller - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - ??? (Hagelin skated here) - Garnet Hathaway

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Radko Gudas
Jonas Siegenthaler - Nick Jensen

Samsonov starts, Holtby gets Saturday

With the Caps playing Friday and Saturday, the netminders will split the two games. Ilya Samsonov will play Friday against Montreal while Braden Holtby will get the start Saturday in Boston.

Samsonov was handed his first loss as a starter on Monday against the Arizona Coyotes and his second loss of the season. Friday will be his eighth appearance this season.

It will be a tough matchup as Samsonov will be going head-to-head against one of the top netminders in the world in Carey Price. Interestingly enough, both players have similar numbers this season as Samsonov enters this game with a .915 save percentage and 2.45 GAA as compared to Price’s .916 and 2.65, though Price is doubling up Samsonov in terms of games.

This could be a big night for the power play

The Caps are converting 22.9-percent on the power play, but it did not look good Wednesday in Philadelphia. Friday could provide the power play with a “get right” opportunity as Montreal ranks 28th on the PK at 73.7-percent. It has been better recently at 77.8-percent in their last five games, but the Caps still must be licking their lips over this opportunity...or at least they will if they can get Montreal into the box.

The Canadiens do not take many penalties and are tied for the fourth-fewest minors taken this season at 52.

Ovechkin is due

Ovechkin has 13 goals already this season, but his pace has slowed a bit this month. In six games in November, Ovechkin has only two goals and they both came in the same game against the Florida Panthers on Nov. 7.

The good news is that Ovechkin loves playing against Montreal. In 48 games against Montreal, he has 31 goals and 53 points.

No Kotkaniemi

One of Montreal’s bright young stars will be out of the lineup. Jesperi Kotkaniemi has been out injured for all of November and he will remain out for Friday’s game.

Kotkaniemi is a budding Caps’ killer with two goals and two assists in just three career games against Washington.

One month and counting

The Caps have not lost in regulation since Oct. 14. It is now Nov. 15 and Washington has gone a full month without suffering a single regulation loss. The Caps have points in 13 straight games and have won 11 of their last 13.