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Oshie, Carlson lead 1st place Caps to victory over 2nd place Bruins

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Oshie, Carlson lead 1st place Caps to victory over 2nd place Bruins

 

WASHINGTON -- There was plenty of hype surrounding Wednesday's matchup between the Capitals and Boston Bruins and it delivered as Washington escaped with the narrow 3-2 win. The win is the Caps' 16th win in 17 games against Boston. Here is how Washington won.

An offside challenge

Patrice Bergeron thought he had put the Bruins up 2-0 in the first period with a power play goal. Todd Reirden challenged the goal as offside, just the second time he has done so all season. A review of the goal showed that Jake DeBrusk had his back skate off the ice as the puck as David Pasrtnark entered the zone, thus drawing the play offside. Reirden had not challenged for offside once until Dec. 6. He has now done it twice in less than a week and won both challenges.

T.J. Oshie

It's not hard to figure out who the player of the game was. Boston nearly scored twice in the first period but held a one-goal lead through the first 20 minutes. Then Oshie took over with two goals in the second period to give Washington back control of the game.

As the Caps entered into the offensive zone on the power play, right defenseman Brandon Carlo came over to the left to cover a pass to Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom retreated to the boards drawing Carlo completely over to the left side. As the puck tipped back to the blue line, it was kept in the zone by John Carlson who passed to a wide-open Oshie who was all alone in front of the net thanks to Carlo being drawn out of position. Oshie went backhand to forehand and chipped the puck over Jaroslav Halak. Just about everyone thought it was a goal, but the referee immediately waved it off. Oshie followed up his shot and hit in the rebound for the actual goal.
Oshie's second goal was more of the highlight real variety as Evgeny Kuznetsov fed him in the neutral zone. Oshie went outside-in on Connor Clifton, then split Clifton and Charlie McAvoy to go in on net. He drew the hook from McAvoy but was still able to backhand the shot bar down to give Washington its first lead of the game.

Carlson plays the hero

Who else?

Torey Krug tied the game at 2 less than three minutes into the third period. Then it was Carlson to the rescue.
When there is a defenseman whose numbers are rivaling those of Bobby Orr, opposing teams can't lose track of him in their own defensive zone. As Backstrom carried the puck into the offensive zone, all eyes were on him. He wheeled around the net and every head of the four Bruins players who were back were watching him. None were watching Carlson coming up to the faceoff circle to set up for the shot. Backstrom saw him though.

Backstrom teed up Carlson for the one-timer which of course he fired past Halak because that's just the kind of season Carlson is having this year. He would finish the game with a goal and an assist.

The penalty kill

The offside challenge erased Boston's lone power play goal of the night. The Bruins entered the game with the sixth-ranked power play in the NHL but finished the game 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

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Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

The Capitals may not be participating in Stadium Series this year, but the team is embracing outdoor hockey around Washington for spirited game day fun.

The Caps are hosting Rock The Rink skates at The Wharf, Penatgon Row, Rockville Town Square and The Avenue at White Marsh on select game days from January to March 2020. Fans attending these events can wear Capitals jerseys or gear to get either $5 off admission or free skate rentals.

The Wharf

Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., and Feb 17. at 1 p.m.

Transit Pier will boast a Capitals-paneled ice rink with an ice resurfacer, trivia contests, giveaways, along with a DJ. The Capitals Campire will also boast Adirondack chairs around a fire to roast marshmallows for smores in front of a 14-foot jumbotron screen to watch the Capitals games. 

Pentagon Row

Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 6 p.m.

These skates will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants. The Caps games will also be on at surrounding bars. 

The Avenue at White March

Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

This event will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants.

Rockville Town Square

Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.

In addition to the above fun, Rockville native and Capitals hockey ambassador Haley Skarupa will be there on Jan. 31. You can watch the Capitals game at local bars as well. 

Fans attending these events or using local outdoor rinks this season are encouraged to post about it on social media by tagging @capitals and using the hashtag #RockTheRink to enter themselves for a chance to win prizes.

Caps slept through the first 40 minutes, they did not give Holtby much help though he was bad in his own right and Vrana sure did show something with the game-winning goal.

As for no penalties...not so much.

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

Down 4-1, the Capitals scored five goals in the third period for the incredible 6-4 comeback win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick pulling him in a tie with Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals.

Here is how the Caps won.

Ovechkin

Ovechkin was hot coming in with five goals in his past two games. He scored midway through the first period, getting a great pass in stride from Nicklas Backstrom to launch him behind the defense. Just as the defense closed in he fired a wrister past Semyon Varlamov to make it 1-0.

There is...pretty much nothing positive to say after that until the third period. There was a great 5-on-3 penalty kill, but it was essentially negated as they allowed a goal soon after. The Islanders built a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes and it looked all but over.

But after Carl Hagelin made it 4-2, Ovechkin pulled the Caps to within one, pulling the vintage back-to-front Ovechkin curl-and-drag before passing to the front where the puck deflected off the boot of Ryan Pulock and in.

After Jakub Vrana made it 5-4, Ovechkin added the empty-netter for the knockout punch.

With three goals, Ovechkin now has 34 on the season. He passed Mario Lemieux and tied Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals. Incredibly, this is the first time in his career Ovechkin has three straight multi-goal games.

Motivation

Just what exactly lit the fire under the Caps butts for that third period will probably be a talking point after the game. Was it Devon Toews doing the bird celebration after he scored to make it 4-1? Was it pulling Braden Holtby and starting Ilya Samsonov in the third period? Was it something Todd Reirden or one of the players said?

Whatever it was, it was a different Caps team that took the ice for the third period.

Hagelin's turnaround

As great as Ovechkin's performance was -- and it was epic -- it might not happen without the Carl Hagelin's early third-period tally.

The comeback was sparked by Hagelin's goal that came less than three minutes into the final frame. A great pass by Richard Panik set Hagelin up on the doorstep and he hit it home.

That goal made it 4-2 and a two-goal deficit seems a lot less daunting than a three-goal one.

Shaky Varlamov

Once Ovechkin made it 4-3, you could smell the blood in the water. Washington had gotten to Varlamov and the flood gates were open.

Dmitry Orlov took the puck up to the top of the faceoff circle and fired a slap shot that Wilson managed to get a stick to and deflected it through Varlamov to tie the game.

About three minutes later, Vrana intercepted a pass and fired a quick shot to beat Varlamov far-side for the 5-4 lead.

Varlamov faced 10 shots in the third period and allowed four goals. The fifth came on an empty net.

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