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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer stands on his head in losing effort

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer stands on his head in losing effort

New York—Philipp Grubauer stopped all 36 shots he faced in regulation, including 18 in the final frame, to help the Caps procure one point in New York.

But the backup goalie wasn’t quite as magical in the shootout, where Mats Zuccarello and Mike Zibanejad struck to lift the Rangers to a 1-0 win. The defeat was Washington's third in a row (0-1-2). It also marked the second straight game in which Alex Ovechkin and Co. failed to score a goal.  

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1- Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

Grubi was the story of the night. He finished with 37 stops and, at times, was the only reason the Caps managed to stay in the game. His best save of the night occurred midway through a scoreless third period when he exploded over to his right and then sprawled out to make a stick stop on Zibanejad.

2-Rick Nash, Rangers

The veteran winger was the most dangerous player on the ice all night, finishing with a game-high six shots. Had he not hit the post in the first period, he might have given the New York all they needed in regulation.

3-Ondrej Pavelec, Rangers

In a battle of the backups, Pavelec wasn’t quite as good as Grubauer. Then again, he didn’t need to be. But he was still very, very good in turning away 30 Capitals’ shots. His best sequence came in the second period when he thwarted Alex Chiasson twice from point-blank range.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Oshie makes a triumphant return to St. Louis for his first All-Star Game

Oshie makes a triumphant return to St. Louis for his first All-Star Game

ST. LOUIS -- Friday's All-Star Skills provided a brief glimpse of the type of reception T.J. Oshie can expect to receive from the St. Louis crowd when he takes to the ice in his first NHL All-Star Game.

"It's been pretty cool hearing them cheer when I got called up," Oshie said. "I heard a cheer so I looked up at the scoreboard and they were showing me skating in warmups. It's really cool and special to me to see the support that I still have here in St. Louis, a place that I really enjoyed playing."

Though it feels to many in Washington as if Oshie has always been a Capital, this is only his fifth season with the franchise. He spent his first seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues. It is the team that drafted him, developed him and where he broke into the NHL. St. Louis is the city in which his first daughter was born and now, the city in which he triumphantly returns, still a fan favorite, for his first NHL All-Star Game (NBC, 8 p.m.).

"Obviously in D.C. is kind of where my career really started to take off and I've had more success there as a team as well," Oshie said, "But to come back here where I really started growing my family and had a lot of special memories and place I was drafted to, it's a pretty cool story to be able to tell my kids when we're older and grandkids after that."

While there is no question that D.C. is now home for Oshie, he never lost that bond that he had with the team and his teammates. When the Blues won the Cup, Oshie was on the phone with several of his former teammates the very next day as they continued celebrating.

And while Oshie never lost the bond he had with the team, neither did the team lose that bond with him.

"He goes all that time, comes back here for his first [All-Star Game] after he did so much for us and played so many games," Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said, who was a former teammate of Oshie's in St. Louis. "It's weird how things work out."

It certainly is. Just ask David Perron.

Perron was also a teammate of Oshie's with the Blues and both player's careers are connected in more ways than one.

Perron was selected 26th overall by St. Louis in 2007, Oshie was selected 24th overall by St. Louis in 2005. Perron played his first NHL season for the Blues in 2007-08, Oshie in 2008-09. Perron was traded in the summer of 2013, Oshie in the summer of 2015. Perron won his first Cup in 2019 with the Blues, Oshie in 2018...against Perron who was then a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Now, the two are united again, each making their first All-Star appearance and it just so happens to come in St. Louis of all places.

"I said how special is it that we're here together right now?" Perron said. "I think for him after 12 years of his career, for me 13 years, it's both our first time and both being voted in by the fans, fans of St. Louis obviously helped him out quite a bit because he was a fan favorite when he was here and they helped me out a lot as well. It's truly special, a heck of a player. He's always played the right way, won a Cup two years ago against us in Vegas, that was hard, but I was happy for him to win one. And he's put in the work, he's put in the time, I'm happy for him."

Most players spend the bye week and the All-Star break by stepping away from hockey and going on vacations or spending time with family. With a pregnant wife and two daughters, Oshie probably had other plans for this week that did not involve going to snowy Missouri.

If the All-Star Game were anywhere else, this week may have been more than an inconvenience for Oshie than anything else. But not St. Louis.

Said Oshie, "I don't think there's another place that would be more fitting for me to go to my first All-Star Game."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Gary Bettman almost excuses Ovechkin's absence from All-Star weekend...almost

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Gary Bettman almost excuses Ovechkin's absence from All-Star weekend...almost

ST. LOUIS -- Alex Ovechkin was voted a captain for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, but, for the second consecutive season, decided ultimately to not participate in the event in order to rest and prepare for the remainder of the season. By doing so, Ovechkin is subject to a one-game suspension because the league frowns on players choosing to skip the event. Plus, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman misses him.

Bettman spoke glowingly of the Capitals captain on Friday during a media availability prior to the NHL Skills saying Ovechkin's pursuit of Wayne Gretzky's goal record was "incredible."

"It's exciting," he said. "It's a testament both to Wayne's record that it seems to have been unapproachable until now and it's a testament to Alex Ovechkin and his amazing career so far and one that we hope continues for a number of years. Obviously his longevity, and he seems to be in great shape, will be a factor as to whether or not he can ultimately achieve that record."

As mentioned above, Ovechkin was not among the players in St. Louis so as a quick aside, Bettman finished his thoughts by jokingly saying, "We miss him and wish he was here, but we understand."

Obviously that would have been a significant statement, even if it was meant as a lighthearted joke, considering that Ovechkin must serve a one-game suspension and will miss the team's game on Jan. 27 in Montreal because the league does not condone his decision to skip the festivities in St. Louis.

Bettman, however, quickly corrected himself.

"No we don't," he said. "I miss him."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.