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Caps must 'adjust' to the challenging ice surface in Vegas

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USA TODAY Sports

Caps must 'adjust' to the challenging ice surface in Vegas

LAS VEGAS—The sloppy ice at T-Mobile Arena for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was a factor for both teams.

But, according to the Caps, it definitely favored a Golden Knights’ team that was used to dealing with it.

“You can’t get too fancy with this ice because it’s a little bouncy—and they know that,” Braden Holtby said after Washington’s 6-4 loss Monday night. “They feed on it for turnovers.”

Several times during stoppages, the arena’s ice crew came onto the playing surface to fill in deep ruts and make other repairs.

"At this time of year, every rink has struggles because the weather is tough,” Holtby added. “That’s one of things you can’t control [but] you can adjust to. Sometimes you just have to play simpler.”

And with the forecast calling for a high of 99 degrees on Wednesday, the ice might not be any better for Game 2.

The Caps’ approach, however, will need to be.

In addition to being more attentive to bouncing pucks, the Caps will need to be more judicious with their passes, particularly long ones. 

They’ll also want to avoid overhandling the puck and toe-drags. Getting shots off quicker could help, too.

Coach Barry Trotz said his players were, at times, a bit hardheaded when it came to adapting to the challenging conditions.

“You can’t expect the ice to be fantastic this time of year, especially in the markets that we are,” Trotz said. “It’s just part of the way you have to play. You have to adjust your game. You have to realize what you can do and what you can’t do.”

Trotz continued: “There were times early I thought we didn’t buy into that and other times I thought we bought into it, and we had success when we bought in.”

Indeed, the Caps must make some tweaks to their game if they hope to return home with a split. And coping with a difficult ice surface is high on that list.

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Capitals at Blackhawks Game 10: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Capitals at Blackhawks Game 10: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Capitals are riding a two-game winning streak, and are looking to continue their winning ways as they start a five-game road swing.

Their first stop is Chicago against a Blackhawks team that has cracked .500 and is also riding their own two-game winning streak.

Whose streak will come to an end Sunday? Tune in to find out.

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME 10: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: Sunday, October 20, 7 pm.

TV Channel: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports. (NBC Sports channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blackhawks on NBC Sports live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Capitals @ Blackhawks (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS INJURY REPORT:

Capitals:

RW Richard Panik, upper-body injury, week-to-week

Blackhawks:

LW Jonn Quenneville, hip injury, day-to-day

CAPITALS AT BLACKHAWKS PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Michal Kempny, D, Capitals (1-0-1)

After returning to the Caps lineup against the New York Rangers Friday night, Kempny felt right at home, potting his first goal of the season. Kempny will look to beat up on the team that traded him back in 2018, and he's had success in the past against them.

Alex DeBrincat, F, Chicago (2-2-4)

Don't be fooled by DeBrincat's 5-7 frame. The shifty forward has a deadly release and notched 41 goals last season, second on the Blackhawks. In the last two seasons, he's also feasted on the Capitals, notching two goals and two assists.

Patrick Kane, R, Chicago (2-5-7)

He doesn't have the nickname "Showtime" for nothing. Kane led the Blackhawks in goals last season with 44, and leads the team in points this season.

CAPITALS at BLACKHAWKS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 99

All-Time Series Record: 44-43-11-1

Last Meeting: Loss 8-5 (1/20/2019)

Last 10: Capitals lead 7-3

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T.J. Oshie puts on a memorable performance in 300th game as a Capital

T.J. Oshie puts on a memorable performance in 300th game as a Capital

300 games. 108 goals. 108 assists.

Just so you're tracking, those are T.J. Oshie's stats through 300 games as a member of the Washington Capitals.

In an outstanding 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers, Oshie scored two power play goals. It was the second time in his career that Oshie recorded two such goals.

Another shot on goal — he had four in the game — would have put him at a nice-and-even 620 during his tenure with the Capitals, but hey, we can't all be perfect.

The statistical-evenness is certainly satisfying, but even if you're not a fan of quirky stats, the man has logged 216 points in 300 games. That's pretty darn good.

T.J. Oshie will seek to continue putting up great numbers as the Capitals embark on a two-week road trip. Their first stop will be Sunday in Chicago for a showdown against the Blackhawks.

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