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Garnet Hathaway's 2nd period tally opens the floodgates in NHL 20 simulated blowout of Rangers

Garnet Hathaway's 2nd period tally opens the floodgates in NHL 20 simulated blowout of Rangers

Garnet Hathaway scored with 2.2 seconds remaining in the second period against the New York Rangers on Thursday and that proved to be the back-breaker in a 6-1 blowout win for Washington in the latest EA Sports NHL 20 simulation.

Result: Caps 6, Rangers 1

1st period

1-0 Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom from Carl Hagelin and Ilya Kovalchuk

2-0 Caps goal: Nic Dowd from Michal Kempny and Richard Panik

2nd period

2-1 Rangers goal: Brett Howden from Julien Gauthier and Brendan Lemieux

3-1 Caps goal: Garnet Hathaway from Nic Dowd and Richard Panik

3rd period

4-1 Capitals goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Tom Wilson

5-1 Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Nicklas Backstrom and Jakub Vrana

6-1 Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Jakub Vrana and Evgeny Kuznetsov


How the Caps won

1. Backstrom is red hot

Fresh off his hat trick performance against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, Nicklas Backstrom stayed hot with an early first period goal on Thursday to open up the scoring.

New York had the numbers as the Caps defense headed to the bench for a change. That left the offense with three forwards trying to break into the zone against all five Rangers. Kovalchuk skated it in along the right and hit Hagelin in the middle. Backstrom had two players on him, but made a nice cut to the middle to get inside positioning and had a lane to the net. Hagelin found him and Backstrom finished the play.

2. A late 2nd period goal

The Caps and Rangers exchanged goals after Backstrom and the game was 2-1 late in the second. That's when Hathaway ended it.

Hathaway scored with just 2.2 seconds remaining in the period to extend Washington's lead to two. It was a quick transition from the fourth line and Hathaway crashed the net, getting a stick on the shot from Dowd to deflect it in. Those late goals can be back-breakers and this one clearly was. Kuznetsov scored 40 seconds into the third and Oshie scored twice -- once to finish off the night for Henrik Lundqvist, the other to welcome in Alexandar Georgiev -- as Washington really poured it on.

3. Shutting down Zibanejad

Mika Zibanejad scored five goals the last time these two teams met on March 5, including the overtime winner. On Thursday he was a non-factor. He recorded zero points and had one lone scoring opportunity as he hit the outside of the post, but that was the only time he really threatened Braden Holtby.

Next game

The Caps were scheduled to play the Detroit Red Wings on the road on Saturday. The game will be simulated with NHL 20 on NBC Sports Washington at 8 p.m.

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How to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov's best games with the Capitals

How to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov's best games with the Capitals

Over the past six seasons, forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been one of the biggest reasons for the Capitals' success.

Kuzy has been extremely durable for the Capitals, playing in at least 76 games over the past six seasons, excluding the 2019-20 shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winger has been one of Washington's best attacking players during that span, splitting time between both Washington's first and second lines. 

No. 92 has also found a knack for playing his best hockey on the sport's biggest stages. Kuznetsov netted arguably the most important goal in Capitals history, scoring the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2018 Eastern Conference semi-finals in overtime to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins, "exorcising the demons" for a franchise that previously could not get past the second round. We all know how that story ends, with the Capitals hoisting the Stanley Cup just over a month later.

On Sunday, NBC Sports Washington is airing four of Kuznetsov's best regular-season performances. At 9 a.m., tune in to watch the Caps 6-5 overtime thriller over the Tampa Bay Maple Leafs from January 3, 2017. In that contest, Kuzy totaled four points, netting one goal and notching three assists, including one that set up Alex Ovechkin's game-winning goal.

Following that, we travel back to October of 2018, when Kuznetsov turned in another four-point performance in a 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in a rematch of the 2018 Stanley Cup. Kuzy started the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal and would tally three assists later on in the match as the Caps cruised to a dominating win.

At 2 p.m., the Caps 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings from February 11, 2019, will re-air. In this matchup, Kuznetsov finished with four points once again, this time finding the back of the net twice to go along with a pair of assists. To close out the day, tune in to see Kuznetsov net two goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes at 4:30 p.m.

A trip down memory lane that highlights Kuznetsov's greatest games is the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

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When:

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Where:

Broadcast Schedule:

9:00 a.m.: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Capitals from January 3, 2017

11:30 a.m.: Vegas Golden Knights @ Capitals from October 10, 2018

2:00 p.m.: Los Angeles Kings @ Capitals from February 11, 2019

4:30 p.m.: Arizona Coyotes @ Capitals from November 11, 2019 

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Ever Wonder: Why the Capitals' jerseys have three stars on them

Ever Wonder: Why the Capitals' jerseys have three stars on them

The current Washington Capitals jersey design — the red home sweaters with the white away ones — has been the defining look for the team throughout much of the Alex Ovechkin era.

During the summer of the 2007 season, the Caps rebranded. The franchise changed its colors from black and blue back to the organization's original design scheme of red, white, and blue. The jerseys that followed were similar to Washington's old-school look, having plenty of similarities with the uniform they wore from 1974-1994.

However, when the Caps unveiled their new look in 2007, there was one big difference from their old uniforms. The new-look had three stars on the front, compared to the six stars that had been across the top of the old sweaters.

Capitals assistant general manager Don Fishman spoke with NBC Sports Washington and explained why the franchise chose to go with just three stars, and it's because each star has a specific meaning.

"The three stars on our current Capitals jersey represent the three jurisdictions: Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.," Fishman said.

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While cutting the number of stars from six to three on the front of the sweater was a big change, Fishman explained that the new uniform was designed to be a modernized version of the franchise's original look.

"It was sort of meant to update and modernize the original Caps jersey, beautiful, old-school, 1970's work hard," Fishman said. "That jersey had six stars and was even on the jerseys in the 90s with the blue and black jersey. So we wanted to keep that concept of the stars, but we didn't want to keep that exact same look. So instead, we redid three stars right on the wordmark. The three stars seemed perfect."

The uniform change also marked the beginning of an incredible postseason run the Capitals have gone on since.

In 2007, the team's first year with the new look, the franchise made the playoffs for the first time in the Ovechkin era. Since then, they've made the postseason 11 of the past 12 seasons and won their first Stanley Cup in 2018.

For Fishman and many Caps fans, the red and white uniforms will always remind them of Washington's first championship and the franchise's biggest star.

"I think it's neat how this redesign will always be linked to Ovechkin and the Capitals' first Stanley Cup," Fishman said.

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