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Did the Capitals solve their depth scoring issues in Friday's loss?

Did the Capitals solve their depth scoring issues in Friday's loss?

Friday’s loss to the Florida Panthers was disappointing in a number of ways for the Capitals, but some good may yet come from it with the emergence of the third line.

A poor performance in the opening frame led to Todd Reirden switching up his lines to start the second. No change had a greater effect than the addition of Jakub Vrana to the third line in place of Andre Burakovsky to play with Lars Eller and Brett Connolly.

The move yielded instant results.

Connolly scored his first goal of the season less than two minutes into the period and added an assist. Vrana also recorded a goal and an assist, while Eller had a three-point night with three assists.

“It was just to make something happen,” Eller said, “Not that [Burakovsky] did something wrong, but just to make something happen and it worked. We kept riding the wave from there on and got two in that period. That seemed to work so that was positive.”

Vrana, Eller and Connolly were three players who had been playing well for the Caps, but were just not producing.

Heading into Friday’s game, Vrana and Eller both had only one point apiece on the season. Connolly had four, but three of those points came earlier in the season while he was skating on the team’s top line.

Friday was his first goal of the season.

“It’s good to get a goal,” Connolly said. “Getting some assists and all that and being a factor on some goals, but it’s nice to see one go in. I’ve had a lot of chances to start the year, thought I’ve been playing well. Lot more shots, lot more chances than I had last year and throughout the last two seasons per game. So I feel I’m ahead of the game right now in terms of that.”

Depth scoring has been a major weakness for the Caps so far in the early season. Washington had gotten only two bottom six goals prior to Friday’s game, and both came in the team’s blowout win over Boston in the opener.

They needed a spark to get offense from the bottom six, and they just may have found it on Friday with that third line combination.

Don’t be surprised to see that Vrana-Eller-Connolly trio stick together in Vancouver for the Caps’ next game against the Canucks.

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Capitals vs. Rangers Game 9: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Capitals vs. Rangers Game 9: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Capitals are back at home again Friday night for the third game in a row, this time to face the New York Rangers.

In their last time on the ice, Capitals won on the back of three goals in 78 seconds, dropping the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-2. Now they turn their attention to the Rangers, who they've beaten nine of the last 10 times they've played, dating back to the 2016-17 season.

The Rangers have revamped their roster a bit in the offseason and will put it to the test against the Capitals for the first time of the 2019-20 season on Friday night.

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

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers, Game 7 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Rangers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

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

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

CAPITALS vs RANGERS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Caps FaceOff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Capitals vs Rangers

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS vs RANGERS INJURY REPORT:

Capitals: Michael Kempny, D, is on injured reserve. Jonas Siegenthaler, D, is day-to-day after taking a big hit to his shoulder during Wednesday night's game. Richard Panik, RW, is day-to-day.

Rangers: N/A

CAPITALS vs RANGERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (5 goals, 2 ppg, 32 shots): Ovechkin's quest for the all-time goal-scoring record is fully on. The seasoned veteran already has five goals this year, two of which have come on the power play.

John Carlson, D, Capitals (14 points, 3 goals, 11 assists): If Ovechkin is the finisher, Carlson is the set-up man. Carlson leads the team in points and assists with 14 and 11, respectively. The blueliner has three goals of his own, while four of his assists have come on the power play.

Mika Zibanejad, C, Rangers (8 points, 4, goals, 4 assists): Through three games, Zibanejad leads the Rangers in points, goals and assists. It's early in the season, but the veteran center is poised for another strong offensive output in the middle for the Rangers.

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 266 (51 postseason)

All-Time Series Record: Capitals lead 131-117-18

Regular Season Record: Capitals lead 107-90-18

Playoff Record: Capitals lead 28-27

Last Meeting: Caps win 3-2 in a shootout (3/3/18)

Last 10: Capitals lead 9-1

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Max Scherzer to drop puck at Friday's Caps-Rangers game

Max Scherzer to drop puck at Friday's Caps-Rangers game

Just when you think the D.C. connection between the Nationals and Capitals couldn't get any stronger, it does.

While the Nationals await the winner of the Astros and Yankees as to who they will play in the World Series, the city's first in 86 years, pitcher Max Scherzer will participate in the ceremonial puck drop prior to the Capitals and Rangers clash. 

During the Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup run, the Nationals were their biggest supporters. Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman attended one of their Cup games against the Knights dressed up in Caps gear. They were awarded the fans of the game.

Now, the Capitals are returning the favor.

Earlier this postseason, the Capitals were heading to Nashville when the Nationals were set to play the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS. Each Caps player walked off the plane sporting a cursive 'Nationals' across their chest.

There's plenty of love between these two teams. The Nationals just hope their postseason ends the same way the Capitals' did a season ago.

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