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How Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie's work in overtime led to John Carlson's game-winner

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How Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie's work in overtime led to John Carlson's game-winner

John Carlson scored the game-winner in overtime on Monday in the Caps 3-2 win over Arizona, but really Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie were the real heroes of the night.

As time ticked away in the overtime, Eller took the puck on his stick in the offensive zone with 1:30 remaining. He weaved his way through the ice for 22 seconds before he finally dropped the puck off for Evgeny Kuznetsov.

That prolonged possession accomplished two things: one, it prevented the Coyotes from changing lines and two, it allowed the Caps to change theirs. When Washington re-entered the offensive zone, they did so with fresh legs against tired Arizona players.

RELATED: TARIK'S THREE STARS VS. COYOTES

One of those players, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, finally corralled the puck in his own zone after a shot from Kuznetsov and tried to break it out of the zone. Oshie, however, was not going to let that happen.

Just before he hit the blue line, Oshie managed to muscle Ekman-Larsson off the puck and it trickled right to Carlson. Six seconds later, the game was over.

The last shift for the three Coyotes’ players was 1:25 for Ekman-Larsson and 1:19 for both Brandon Perlini and Christian Dvorak. Playing over a minute of three on three hockey with virtually no possession after already playing a full regulation is tough for any NHL player and Arizona just plain ran out of gas.

“I thought Lars Eller wore that unit out for about a minute and then we were able to get a real smart change,” Barry Trotz said. “And then they were trying to exit the zone, I thought a real huge play by T.J. Oshie to keep that puck alive and they were able to transition and it ends up in the back of the net.”

READ MORE: LATEST NHL POWER RANKINGS

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Capitals Draft Tracker

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Draft Tracker

The 2018 NHL Draft starts on Friday with the first round and runs through Saturday. Here's a running tracker of the Caps' picks.

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.

6th round, 186th overall: 

7th round, 217th overall: 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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