Capitals

Drake stuns No. 17 Creighton 74-69

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Drake stuns No. 17 Creighton 74-69

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Richard Carter scored 20 points and Drake stunned No. 17 Creighton 74-69 on Wednesday night, handing the Bluejays their first consecutive losses of the season.

Ben Simons added 13 for the Bulldogs (9-10, 3-5 Missouri Valley Conference), who blew a 16-point lead before rallying for their first win over a ranked opponent in five years.

Grant Gibbs brought Creighton within 71-69 with 32 seconds left, and the Bluejays got the ball back on a steal. But Gibbs missed a layup and Simons sealed the win with a steal and two free throws with 0.5 seconds left.

Doug McDermott had 21 points to lead Creighton, which shot just 24 percent from 3-point range. But McDermott had just four points in the second half and didn't touch the ball on Creighton's last two possessions.

Four days after losing by three points to No. 20 Wichita State, the Bluejays opened with perhaps their worst half of the season.

Drake's substantial lead didn't last long, though.

Will Artino's dunk off an alley-oop pass preceded two layups by Grant Gibbs that brought Creighton within 53-51 with 12:03 left. Creighton finally retook the lead, 62-61, with 7:10 to go on McDermott's first basket of the second half.

Gibbs added 16 points for the Bluejays, who outscored Drake 41-30 in the second half but couldn't get it done in the final minutes.

Creighton pounded Drake by 30 points in their meeting in Omaha two weeks ago.

The Bulldogs seemed intent on returning the favor in the first half.

Consecutive 3s by Carter gave the Bulldogs a 25-20 lead, riling up a home gym that was much more packed than it usually is. With everyone but McDermott struggling for Creighton, Drake pushed its lead to 41-28 on a layup by Seth VanDeest.

McDermott then got called for a sloppy travel under the basket, and Chris Hines drilled a 3 from the elbow that put the Bulldogs ahead by 16 at halftime.

McDermott, who entered play as the nation's second-leading scorer at 24.1 points per game, had 17 at halftime. But his teammates chipped in with just four baskets in 20 minutes.

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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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Braden Holtby picks up first regulation loss in five weeks

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Braden Holtby picks up first regulation loss in five weeks

Braden Holtby’s stretch of 11 consecutive starts without a loss in regulation came to a screeching halt Wednesday night, when the depleted Capitals lost 4-1 to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The Caps’ goalie was 10-0-1 since Oct. 14, when head coach Todd Reirden benched him for allowing the Colorado Avalanche to score three times in the first eight minutes of the game.

Holtby looked good through the first two periods Wednesday, allowing just one power play goal off the stick of Artemi Panarin entering the third.

But things fell apart from there. New York scored two goals within 23 seconds of each other early in the third period, and while Evgeny Kuznetsov’s power play goal closed the deficit to 3-1 with a little less than 13 minutes to play, Brett Howden put the game away with a goal late.

Holtby is tied with the Vegas Golden Knights’ Marc-Andre Fleury for the most wins in the NHL with 11 but wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunity to move into sole possession of first place while Vegas had the night off.

The Capitals will be back in action on Saturday when they play host to the Vancouver Canucks, with puck drop scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.

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Shorthanded Caps suffocated by Rangers in loss

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Shorthanded Caps suffocated by Rangers in loss

A shuffled Capitals lineup took the ice in New York on Wednesday and was handed a 4-1 loss by Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers. Washington was without Nicklas Backstrom, Carl Hagelin, Nic Dowd (all injured) and Garnet Hathaway (suspended) and that proved to be too many losses for the team to overcome. This loss ends a streak of seven-straight wins over the Rangers by the Caps.

Here is how Washington lost.

Panarin's 2 power play goals

Tom Wilson was called for boarding with less than a minute remaining in the first giving New York a power play at the start of the second. Artemi Panarin would cash in to put the Rangers on the board.

The Caps' penalty killers did their homework on Adam Fox who is pivotal to the Ranger's power play. As the main distributor, clearly Washington wanted to keep the pressure on him when he had the puck. As the power play set up, Fox got the puck and Richard Panik came hard after him at the blue line. Fox managed to get the puck away to Kaapo Kakko and then Washington was in a bind.

With Panik up high after Panarin and Jonas Siegenthaler still down low, that left Panarin open in the middle. That's the wrong guy to give too much room to and he made the most of it, writing the puck past the glove of Braden Holtby.

Just after the Caps killed off an Alex Ovechkin penalty in the third, Dmitry Orlov was called for high-sticking 40 seconds later. Panarin extended New York's lead to 2-0 as Kakko tried a spin move to get a shot off close in on Holtby. He lost the puck and it came to Panarin on the far side with an empty-net yawning.

Buchnevich's knockout punch

Going down 2-0 in the third period is a tough blow. Going down 3-0 just 23 seconds later is deflating.

As the Rangers broke the puck into the offensive zone, Siegenthaler was on the far left of the ice as Pavel Buchnevich skated in. Seeing that Buchnevich had a step on Siegenthaler and with Tom Wilson to his right, Gudas got caught in no man's land as he tried to step up to challenge Buchnevich while also getting his stick in the passing lane. Filip Chytil had a step on Wilson and was in alone after the pass from Buchnevich. Gudas took a weird angle on Buchnevich and ended up colliding with Siegenthaler. Buchnevich got behind them both and was open for the pass and the slam-dunk goal to make it 3-0.

A horrendous defensive zone breakdown

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on the power play to breathe some life back into Washington. That life was extinguished when Buchnevich found Brett Howden all alone in front of the net.

  

Yeah, that's a bad breakdown.

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The Caps may have struggled to put points on the board Wednesday, but it wasn't for a lack of offense. Washington outshot the Rangers 62-48 and managed 31 shots on goal. They beat Lundqvist five times, but four of those times they were met with a loud "PING" as the puck hit off the post.

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