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How to watch: Capitals vs. Blues preseason Game 2

How to watch: Capitals vs. Blues preseason Game 2

Starting the preseason on a three-game homestand, the Capitals are 1-0 entering their matchup with the Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. This game will be one of five more chances for roster battles to be settled as the Capitals look to shore up their team and send assignments to Hersey and beyond.

In the home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks, Caps heartthrob Tom Wilson notched an overtime game-winning goal to seal Washington's first victory of the year. Aliaksei Protas shined for all to enjoy as well, tallying three points (goal and two assists, including one on Wilson's overtime effort).

After this game, the Capitals face the Blues once more in the preseason on September 27th in St. Louis and of course for the regular-season opener on October 2, also in St. Louis.

CAPITALS-BLUES PRESEASON GAME 2: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. St. Louis Blues

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

When: Wednesday, September 18, 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Blues preseason game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blues preseason game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7

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Capitals complete undefeated month, Ovechkin lets up on Niskanen and is Oshie the best shootout player ever?

Capitals complete undefeated month, Ovechkin lets up on Niskanen and is Oshie the best shootout player ever?

The Capitals have not lost in regulation in a month. With their 2-1 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, Washington extended its point streak to 13 games. The Caps have won 11 of their last 12 and have not lost in regulation since Oct. 14.

Check out Wednesday's game recap here.

Observations from the win

Panik is close

This was easily Richard Panik’s best game as a Cap. He had four shots on goal in the first period and six for the game. He had only seven shots on goal total in his nine games prior to Wednesday. He looked like one of the more dangerous offensive players for Washington and the third line actually looked offensively dangerous.

Now here’s the key, Panik has to continue playing like this. He can’t deliver a performance like this once every 10 games, this needs to be the new normal and not the exception.

Radko Gudas

Yeah, this game mattered to Gudas. He was far more aggressive in the offensive zone than we have seen him at any point this season. In the first period, he cut through the middle of the offensive zone and dangled the puck like a scoring winger. He nearly scored and that would have been a goal to remember.

No consistency by the refs

Slashing is called differently in today’s NHL than it was ten years ago. Heck, it is different than it was five years ago. Old-school hockey enthusiasts hate it, but whatever. It's fine. There’s not enough padding on the gloves and players get hurt from even innocent-looking slashes. It's better to have a few soft calls in the game than more broken fingers.

If you are going to call those light slashes as penalties, that’s fine, but you have to do it consistently. The issue is not that refs are calling too many slashes, it’s just that there is no consistency with those calls.

Jakub Vrana was called for a very light slash on Ivan Provorov in the second period. By the letter of the law, it was a slash. OK, they called it and that means that this is the standard you have now set. In the third period, Sean Couturier gave Wilson a whack in front of the net while he was battling for the puck. Ten years ago, no one would have batted an eyelash over it, t was just a light tap. But the refs set the standard with the Vrana slash, yet there was no call. You could see Wilson, he is used to having grown men throw their fists at his face, complain about what was a light tap to the refs. The severity of the slash was not the problem, consistency was.

That’s the frustrating part. It’s not that the Vrana slash was called, it’s that the same standard was not kept throughout the game.

Ovechkin on Niskanen

In the second period, Alex Ovechkin had Matt Niskanen square in his sights. The commentators on the broadcast praised Ovechkin for following through on his hit even though it was against his former teammate. I hate to disagree, but it sure looks to me like Ovechkin could have ended Niskanen with this hit. I’m fairly certain Ovechkin took something off this, but you be the judge:

Eastern conference

The Caps have played only eight games against the Eastern Conference in their first 20. In those eight games, Washington has not lost a single one in regulation and now has a record of 7-0-1.

Turning point

After the first period, this looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Caps who were completely dominating. After two periods, it looked like Washington would have to settle for a narrow victory. Then Nic Dowd toe picked in front of Matt Niskanen and fell into the former Caps’ legs. As happens in hockey, one bad penalty call quickly turned into a goal as Claude Giroux scored on a 2-on-1 to tie the game.

That was the difference between a regulation win and a shootout win on Wednesday for Washington.

Play of the game

There were a number of great saves by Holtby as the Flyers began to tip the scales in their favor after the first period. This one stands out as the best as Tyler Pitlick thought he could spin and tuck the puck into the far-side of the net, but Holtby was able to turn him aside with the toe.


Stat of the game

T.J. Oshie is not just one of the best shootout players in the league, he is the best shootout player ever.


Quote of the game

Holtby does not say much after games. He talks about shutting everything out and focusing just on his play. He does not get excited for shutouts or overly down on himself after bad games. His entire focus is helping the team win.

One reporter asked Holtby if playing in a game like Wednesday's is more fun because of how he has to push himself when the oppositions' goalie plays so well. Holtby's answer reflects how much respect he has for Philadelphia's Carter Hart.

"Yeah it is. Especially when it’s a guy that’s fun to play against obviously. Connections in different ways. Being Western Canadian, I root for those guys. It was fun. It was fun to see him play really well and it was fun to compete like that."

Fan predictions

Gudas and Holtby were closest. Gudas was buzzing and nearly scored in the first period. Holtby allowed only one goal and was 13:45 away from the shutout.

The Caps as a team could not muster two goals against Hart so that streak is now over.

Ovechkin fell just a bit shy of scoring the 224 goals he needed to pass Gretzky’s record on Wednesday. Oh well, there’s always Friday’s game.

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Lucky 13: Caps extend point streak to 13 games with shootout victory in Philadelphia

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Lucky 13: Caps extend point streak to 13 games with shootout victory in Philadelphia

The Capitals could not put away the pesky Philadelphia Flyers in regulation or overtime on Wednesday, but finally won 2-1 in a shootout to extend their point streak to 13 games. The Caps dominated early, but could not get more than one goal past Carter Hart through 65 minutes. Still, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov were there in the shootout to give the Caps two points.

Washington now has 11 wins in its last 13 games. Here is how the Caps won.

A dominant first period

The Caps played one of the strongest periods of the season in the first, dominating in just about every facet of the game. Washington outshot Philadelphia 16-5 in the first 20 minutes. Richard Panik almost outshot the Flyers by himself with four shots on goal.

The Flyers did well to keep the Caps to the perimeter for the most part, but when they did manage to get to Carter Hart, the young netminder made a number of strong saves to keep the Flyers in it.

The fourth line finally got to Hart as Brendan Leipsic parked himself in front for the screen, then tapped in the easy rebound after Hart got a pad on the initial shot.

Braden Holtby

Washington dominated the first period, but the game bogged way down after the opening frame. After outshooting Philadelphia 16-5 in the first, the Flyers began to take control and fired another 26 shots on goal in the final two periods and overtime.

Holby walked away with 30 saves on 31 total shots for his fifth-straight win.

Oshie and Kuznetsov

With the game tied through 65 minutes, the Caps looked to T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov in the shootout to finish off the game. Mr. Reliable Oshie skated in slow to open up Hart’s 5-hole then snapped the shot through it before he could even react. Kuznetsov had the Caps’ second shot, deked the Flyer’s netminder, and shot the puck off the post and into the roof.

Washington scored on each of their first two shots and that would be all they needed for the win.

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