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Playing in second NHL game, Caps’ Tyler Lewington records Gordie Howe hat trick

Playing in second NHL game, Caps’ Tyler Lewington records Gordie Howe hat trick

Tyler Lewington had a night to remember as he recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick in just his second NHL game in a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Here are four reasons the Caps won.

A Gordie Howe hat trick

It was a hell of a night for Lewington who got his first NHL point, his first NHL goal and his first NHL fight all in the same game. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s a Gordie Howe hat trick. This is just the second NHL game of Lewington’s career.

Lewington recorded a secondary assist on the game’s first goal as he chipped the puck up to Tom Wilson to break out of the defensive zone and the puck eventually ended up in the back of the net. His goal came later in the first as Nicklas Backstrom fed him a drop back pass at the blue line. The defense gave him a lane, he took it to the high slot and wristed it past goalie Marcus Hogberg. Finally in the second period he threw down the gloves with Zack Smith to complete the hat trick with the fight.

Another first

Lewington got a goal in his second NHL game. It took 78 games for Madison Bowey, but he finally recorded his first on Saturday.

Wilson dumped the puck into the offensive zone, beat all the Senators to the puck, took it behind the net and backhanded a pass back to the blue line to a wide-open Bowey. Bowey crept up a bit, carefully wound up and fired the puck into the net.

This marks the first time two Caps have gotten their first NHL goals in the same game since Oct. 10, 2005 when Steven Eminger and Petr Sykora both scored against the New York Rangers. Per Mike Vogel, it is also the first time in franchise history and just the 19th time in NHL history that two defensemen from the same team scored their first NHL goals in the same game.

A sweet pass

The College Football Playoff began on Saturday, but the best pass of the night might have come from Evgeny Kuznetsov. Midway through the first period, Kuznetsov broke the puck into the offensive zone, skated left, and then fired a puck from near the wall right to the tape of Wilson on the back door.

The pass was aided by a horrendous misplay by defenseman Maxime Lajoie who seemed to be in good position to cut off the pass. Instead, he played as if he had no idea there was a player coming behind him and was caught out of position on the pass.

Pheonix Copley

Copley started in Ottawa just one week ago and recorded his first NHL shutout. He may not have gotten a shutout in his return on Saturday, but he still turned in a strong outing with 31 saves.

Copley’s best save of the night came in the first period on Brady Tkachuk as Copley was forced to slide from his left all the way to the right to kick out the pad and deny the goal. The resulting rush led to Bowey’s goal.

Copley was strong when the Caps needed him to be and helped Washington hold on the for the one-goal win.

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Former Caps center Brooks Laich and Julianne Hough reportedly split after nearly three years

Former Caps center Brooks Laich and Julianne Hough reportedly split after nearly three years

Former Capitals center Brooks Laich has separated from his wife, Dancing with the Stars judge Julianne Hough, after nearly three years of marriage, People magazine reported on Friday.

"We have lovingly and carefully taken the time we have needed to arrive at our decision to separate," the couple said in a joint statement released to People. "We share an abundance of love and respect for one another and will continue to lead with our hearts from that place. We kindly request your compassion and respect for our privacy moving forward."

Laich and Hough have been married since July 2017 and together since the beginning of 2014.

According to People, the couple had been quarantining in two different locations during the pandemic, as Laich was in Idaho while Hough was in Los Angeles. They reportedly have not seen each other for two months.

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Laich appeared in 742 career games for the Capitals over 12 seasons, notching 133 goals and 324 points over that span. His best season with Washington came during the 2009-10 campaign, where he finished with a career-best in goals (25) and assists (34).

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Capitals could bring up Connor McMichael to be a 'black ace' for the playoffs

Capitals could bring up Connor McMichael to be a 'black ace' for the playoffs

When the Capitals head to their hub city to begin their quest for the Stanley Cup, they will bring a number of "black aces" in town.

Black aces are depth call-ups from the minor leagues who are used primarily as practice players throughout the postseason, but who can be available to dress in a game if the team needs. According to general manager Brian MacLellan, among the players he is considering as black aces this postseason is their 2019 first-round draft pick, Connor McMichael.

Bringing teams to hub cities to play the postseason is part of the NHL's return to play plan, but, in the interest of safety and risking fewer people to exposure to the coronavirus, the NHL said Monday it would limit teams to 50 people each. That's not just players, that includes coaches, PR staff, athletic trainers, equipment managers, etc.

In a video conference on Friday, MacLellan said the team had an initial list of the personnel to possibly bring to the playoffs and McMichael was on that list.

"We identified probably a little bit larger group than we're going to use," MacLellan said. "We got the roster number the other day of 28 plus unlimited goalies so we're in discussions now on how we want to use those extra players and what's the best way we can organizationally. We're talking about coaches about depth guys. We're talking about bringing in McMichael a little bit. So we have some decisions to make, but we still have some time to make those decisions and we'll make them when it's appropriate."

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McMichael had a standout season with the London Knights in the OHL, scoring 47 goals and 55 assists in 52 games. That was after an impressive training camp with Washington just a few months after getting selected 25th overall.

Before you get too excited there are a few things to note. First, because McMichael was on the initial list does not mean he will make the final one. Fifty people is not a lot and hard choices are going to have to be made to widdle the list down. Also, being a black ace does not mean he will play in the playoffs. In fact, it is most likely that he will not.

Young players like McMichael are often brought in as black aces for the experience, so they can see how the veteran players practice and prepare in the playoffs and learn from them. It sounds like that is exactly what MacLellan is hoping McMichael can glean from the experience.

"I think it would be great learning experience for Connor," MacLellan said. "He seems to be a guy that can pick up things from good players, from watching them, being around them. The feedback from him last training camp was he was engaged, he learned a lot from [Nicklas Backstrom]. He learned a lot from our veteran players. I think it takes a big leap for his development, just to be in that environment, to see how guys work, to see how guys practice, off-ice workouts, nutrition stuff, see our main guys doing it on a daily basis in a competitive environment. I think it would be invaluable for him."

But while it may not be the plan going in for McMichael to play, having him on the roster means that there is at least a chance.

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