Capitals

Coyotes roll to 5-1 win over Blue Jackets

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Coyotes roll to 5-1 win over Blue Jackets

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Steve Sullivan scored three goals, Oliver Ekman-Larsson had two goals and an assist, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 Wednesday night for their first win of the season.

Phoenix was more sound defensively than in its first two games and created some good scoring chances because of it, sending 42 shots at Columbus goalie Steve Mason in his first start of the season.

Jason LaBarbera was sharp in his first action of the season, stopping 21 shots after starter Mike Smith left midway through the first period with a lower-body injury.

Sullivan had his eighth career hat trick, Ekman-Larsson his first three-point game and nine players had at least a point to help the Coyotes avoid their first 0-3 start since 1985-86, when the franchise was still in Winnipeg.

Fedor Tyutin scored for Columbus in its first regulation loss of the season.

A year ago, Phoenix surged to the Pacific Division title behind a tight-checking style and superb goaltending by Smith.

Neither was working through the first games this season, the defense giving up too many good scoring chances and turnovers, and Smith too many goals that wouldn't have gotten by him last season.

Phoenix allowed 10 goals the first two games, against Dallas and Chicago, and all those came against Smith, who began the day with a save percentage of .825.

The Blue Jackets put up plenty of shots against the Coyotes the last time these teams met, peppering Smith with 54 on April 3. He stopped them all, though, setting an NHL record for most saves in a shutout.

He didn't get a chance to match it, facing four shots before leaving the ice during a timeout.

LaBarbera sprawled to kick away a point-blank shot by Ryan Johansen right after coming in, then gave up a goal in the second period to Tyutin, who beat him with a big slap shot from near the blue line.

LaBarbera was solid after that, doing the splits to stop a couple of shots on a scrum in front of his crease in the second period and turning away seven more during a power play in the third.

The good defense helped Phoenix create some good offensive chances.

Sullivan scored his first goal with the Coyotes midway through the second period, punching in a rebound after Mason made a tough save on a shot by Antoine Vermette.

Ekman-Larsson made it 2-1 late in the period, beating Mason with a wrister from between the circles after taking a drop pass from Matthew Lombardi.

Columbus dug itself a deeper hole early in the third period, when Derek Dorsett and Derick Brassard were called for separate tripping penalties, giving Phoenix a two-man advantage for two minutes. Sullivan capitalized, one-timing a shot from between the circles on a feed from Mikkel Boedker past Mason.

Sullivan put the game out of reach near the midpoint of the period, squeezing a shot between Mason's pads on a redirect off a pass by Derek Morris. It was his first hat trick since Dec. 14, 2009 against Columbus while he was playing for Nashville.

NOTES: Coyotes C Martin Hanzal and D Rostislav Klesla were both out with lower-body injuries. ... Rocker Alice Cooper, a Valley resident and big Coyotes fan, attended the game. ... The Blue Jackets have failed to score on their 18 power plays against the Coyotes, including 0 for 3 Wednesday night. ... Sullivan has 48 points in 48 career games against Columbus.

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Todd Reirden on TJ Oshie's surgery: 'It's a tough situation for our team'

Todd Reirden on TJ Oshie's surgery: 'It's a tough situation for our team'

ARLINGTON — Capitals forward T.J. Oshie had a surgical procedure Friday to repair a broken right collarbone and remains out indefinitely.  

Oshie was not at Capital One Arena for Washington’s 6-0 win in Game 5 of its Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was injured with five minutes to go in Thursday’s Game 4 loss in Raleigh when nudged from behind by Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele and slamming hard into the boards near full speed. 

“There's not one person who can take T.J. Oshie's spot for all that he is as a human being, player on the ice, off the ice all the stuff that he adds,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said at his media availability on Sunday afternoon. “But what I did notice is that everybody picked their level up last night. And that's what we're going to need going into Raleigh for [Monday]."

That’s when Washington, ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, can eliminate Carolina in Game 6. It’s something it has done successfully on the road in recent years in Philadelphia (2016), Toronto (2017), Pittsburgh and Columbus (2018). All series the Capitals were up 3-2. In all four they won Game 6. 

But they won’t have Oshie this time and he is the emotional engine that has helped fuel some of those series-ending performances. There is still no exact timetable for Oshie’s return. The Capitals have avoided ruling him out for the season and Reirden artfully dodged a question about whether he’d be ready for training camp. 

A broken collarbone usually doesn’t take longer than two months to heal barring complications. But that’s almost certainly going to be after the playoffs ends even if the Capitals make a repeat run to the Stanley Cup Final. Last year they won it on June 7 in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

“I do know that T.J. Oshie is going to do everything he can, and we're not willing to put a timetable on it right now with regard to any time,” Reirden said. “Just lots of these things take a different course in terms of how they rehab and don't rehab. I just know that I can tell you about T.J., he's all-in at all times, and that's a great person to have around our room at the very least." 

Oshie had 25 goals and 29 assists in 65 regular-season games. He missed 11 of 13 games with a concussion. He had eight goals and 13 assists in the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. He also plays the “bumper” role on the top power-play unit and kills penalties.

Oshie tweeted thanks to fans both before and after Washington’s 6-0 win on Saturday. In the third period, periodic “T.J. Oshie!” chants rang from the sellout crowd at Capital One Arena. 

“It was nice to see the crowd give [Oshie] a little love,” center Nicklas Backstrom said on Saturday.  

Added Reirden: “That's obviously a tough loss for us, but we're prepared to go without him as we saw last night. It's a tough situation for our team, but I certainly liked our response last night and was proud of our effort in terms of how we played and how we were playing with him in the back of our mind."

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T.J. Oshie has surgery on injured clavicle

T.J. Oshie has surgery on injured clavicle

Caps forward T.J. Oshie underwent surgery on his right clavicle, the team announced on Sunday. 

Oshie was injured in Game 4 of the team’s series against Carolina when Hurricanes' forward Warren Foegele cross-checked Oshie in the back, resulting in him being knocked over face-first into the boards, appearing to strike them with his right shoulder and in a large amount of pain.

The team responded in Game 5 back at Capital One Arena, crushing Carolina 6-0 to take a 3-2 series lead.

As the game drew to a close, the fans on deck in the nation's capital, including Redskins' linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, began chanting Oshie's name, and it will give you chills.

The Caps will look to close out the series in Carolina on Tuesday.

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