Nationals

Game 6 pregame news and notes

712316.png

Game 6 pregame news and notes

News and notes as the Capitals prepare to take on the New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals 7:30 p.m.):

Beagle update: Capitals third-line center Jay Beagle was literally carted to the entrance of the Capitals dressing room at about 5 p.m. tonight.

Capitals coach Dale Hunter said Beagle, who sat out Wednesday's morning skate after blocking a shot by defenseman Anton Stralman, will play tonight. Look for him to center a line with Matt Hendricks and Marcus Johansson, allowing Troy Brouwer to play on a top line with Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich.

Reunion?: If the Caps fall behind tonight don't be surprised if Hunter reunites Ovechkin with old buddies Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin.

Tonight's officials: Dan O'Halloran and Wes McCauley are the to referees tonight. Pierre Racicot and Scott Driscoll are the two linesmen.

Forcing a seventh game: Since the 2007-08 season, the Capitals have gone 3-0 in Game 6 situations when trailing a series 3-2. The last time the Capitals trailed a series 3-2 entering Game 6 was during the 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the New York Rangers. Washington earned a 5-3 win in New York in Game 6 before coming home to Verizon Center to defeat the Rangers 2-1 in Game 7.

Resilient: Since the 2010 playoffs, the Capitals have gone 7-3 in games following overtime contests. In those 10 games, the Capitals own a 4-1 record following overtime defeats. Washington has gone 3-0 following overtime losses during these playoffs.

Climbing the charts: Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin are the only three Capitals who have suited up for all 49 of the teams playoff contests over the last five springs. The trio, all expected to appear in their 50th career playoff games tonight, ranks tied for 12th all-time in playoff games played in Capitals history. Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom have each played in 48 games in the past five seasons. All five players rank in the top-20 in playoff scoring in Capitals history.

Ovi watch: Alex Ovechkin has collected 58 points (29 goals, 29 assists) in 49 career playoff games, surpassing Peter Bondra for third place in Capitals playoff history. Ovechkins 29 postseason goals have surpassed head coach Dale Hunter for second all-time in Caps history, trailing only Peter Bondra (30).

Back-to-back: Goaltender Braden Holtby has gone 28 straight starts in the NHL including 12 in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs without suffering back-to-back setbacks. Holtby has gone 5-0 with a 1.29 goals-against average and a .959 save percentage in games following a loss during these playoffs.

All-time tenders: Braden Holtby has appeared in 12 playoff games in his career, all coming this season. He ranks tied for fifth place in Capitals history in playoff games by a goaltender. Holtbys six wins rank fifth in Caps history while his 371 saves also rank fifth. Holtbys 12 games played and six wins are both the second-highest totals in each category for a rookie goaltender in a single campaign in Caps history.

Quick Links

Max Scherzer grits his way through broken nose in stellar outing, win vs. Phillies

Max Scherzer grits his way through broken nose in stellar outing, win vs. Phillies

WASHINGTON -- With a broken nose, pronounced black eye and seven shutout innings, Max Scherzer provided a striking capper to the Washington Nationals' day-night doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Scherzer himself? He shrugged off his work in the Nationals' 2-0 victory Wednesday night as business as usual.

"Trust me, this thing looks a lot worse than it actually is," Scherzer said. "I felt zero pain. There's been plenty of other injuries where I felt a lot of pain and I've had to pitch through. I'll hang my hat on those starts, but tonight I felt zero pain. This is part of what you have to do. You take the ball every fifth time.

"That's my responsibility to the team, to make sure I always post, and I knew I could post tonight."

Brian Dozier and Victor Robles hit solo homers to support Scherzer (6-5) as Washington won for the 16th time in 23 games. Philadelphia has dropped seven of its last nine and 12 of 18.

In the first game, Patrick Corbin struck out eight while allowing one run over seven innings as the Nationals earned a 6-2 victory in the delayed series opener after the teams were rained out Monday and Tuesday.

Scherzer bunted a ball off his face during batting practice Tuesday, but it didn't stop him from making his scheduled start. His injury may have provided an extra layer of intimidation in the form of a black eye more worthy of a boxing ring than a baseball diamond.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner sported a pronounced bruise arcing beneath his right eye, adding another hue to a glare that already featured one blue eye and one brown eye.

"Going out there and throwing, the only thing I had to deal with was the swelling underneath the eye," Scherzer said. "It was kind of jiggling around, and so in warmups I just had to get used to knowing what it was feeling like to throw the ball and just have that swelling."

While he wasn't at his most efficient on a humid night, piling up 117 pitches, Scherzer was rarely threatened. He struck out 10, yielded only four hits and permitted just two runners to reach scoring position. And he finished strong, striking out three in a row after Cesar Hernandez led off the seventh with a double.

"It really is one of the most impressive things I've seen in a while," Dozier said. "He's probably the best pitcher in our generation, and you don't get that status unless you take the ball every fifth day, no matter if you're doing good, doing bad, you got a broken nose. You always want the ball."

Bryce Harper, Scherzer's former Nationals teammate, was 0 for 4 with four walks in the doubleheader and was loudly booed before each plate appearance -- especially in the better-attended nightcap. This series is his second trip back to Washington, where he played from 2012-18, since signing a 13-year, $330 million contract with Philadelphia in March.

Dozier belted a two-out solo shot in the second off Jake Arrieta (6-6), who allowed two hits and struck out three over six innings and had the misfortune of matching up with Scherzer on the wrong day.

"Max is just one of the best to ever toe the rubber, honestly," Arietta said. "We have ran into him a couple of times. That's just what he does. He is tough to square up, and he is throwing three or four pitches for strikes with electric stuff. Just a tough one."

Robles homered off reliever Pat Neshek in the eighth. Neshek departed two batters later with a left hamstring strain, and manager Gabe Kapler said he was likely to land on the injured list less than a week after returning from an absence of more than three weeks caused by a shoulder strain.

Wander Suero pitched a perfect eighth for Washington, and Sean Doolittle worked the ninth for his 15th save in 18 tries.

Philadelphia was 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position between the two games.

Corbin (6-5), whose start was pushed back twice this week, allowed a solo homer to Scott Kingery in the first inning of the opener. But he let just one other runner to reach third while ending a personal three-game skid.

"It's not ideal, but you have to deal with it to make sure you are ready," said Corbin, who is one strikeout shy of 1,000 for his career. "I was glad we got that one in today."

Dozier and Gerardo Parra had RBI doubles against Phillies starter Zach Eflin (6-7). They later hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning off Cole Irvin to seal the victory.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: 

Quick Links

Ovechkin voted an NHL first-team All Star for the eighth time

ovechkin-red-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Ovechkin voted an NHL first-team All Star for the eighth time

Las Vegas always treats the Capitals well.

One year after winning the Stanley Cup at T-Mobile Arena, Alex Ovechkin was once again named a first-team All-Star at the annual NHL Awards ceremony and John Carlson took second-team honors. The event was held at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.  

The Pro Hockey Writers Association voted Ovechkin onto the first team for the eighth time – seven of those at left wing and one at right wing in 2012-13. He had 63 first-place votes and 459 total points to beat out Boston’s Brad Marchand (402) and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau (324) at left wing. It is his first appearance on the first team, however, since the 2014-15 season. Ovechkin has four times been named to the second team.  

Carlson’s second-team selection was the best showing of his career. He received the third-most points (428). Only San Jose’s Brent Burns and Calgary’s Mark Giordano, the Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenseman, received more to garner first-team honors. Carlson finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting. He was fifth in 2018. 

Ovechkin was seventh in the Hart Trophy voting for league MVP. He has won that award three times. He was presented with his eighth Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer. Ovechkin had 51 goals in 81 games. No other player has led the league in goals eight times. His eight 50-goal seasons trail only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy, who accomplished that feat nine times during their Hall-of-Fame careers.  

MORE CAPITALS NEWS