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Why a smiling Ovechkin was forced to leave Wednesday’s game briefly in the first period

Why a smiling Ovechkin was forced to leave Wednesday’s game briefly in the first period

A nasty collision between Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie resulted in Ovechkin getting pulled into the locker room in the first period of Wednesday’s Capitals game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Early in the first period, Oshie skated past Morgan Rielly attempting to chip the puck away from him along the boards. As he kept skating, he came directly into the path of Ovechkin and the two collided violently in the neutral zone. Oshie popped up quickly, but Ovechkin stayed down on the ice.

After a few nervous moments, Ovechkin got back onto his feet and was seen smiling on the bench and joking with Oshie about the hit. He also appeared to be grabbing his chest.

A few moments later, head athletic trainer Jason Serbus was seen talking to Ovechkin and Ovechkin got up off the bench and walked into the locker room.

It was later confirmed by the NBCSN broadcast that Ovechkin was pulled by the concussion spotter after it appeared Ovechkin’s face crashed directly into Oshie’s shoulder.

Concussion spotters are authorized to require a player’s removal from play in order to evaluate them for a concussion following a blow to the head. If the player passes all concussion tests and is deemed not to have suffered a concussion, he is able to return.

While it appeared Ovechkin was fine after the hit, the concussion spotter saw enough on the hit to believe Ovechkin needed to be evaluated. It may be an inconvenience, but could prevent players from remaining on the ice after suffering a concussion.

Luckily for the Caps, Ovechkin returned late in the first literally just in time for Washington’s first power play of the game. The Caps did score on the power play, though Ovechkin did not record a point on the play.

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Capitals vs. Flyers first 2018-19 matchup: Time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals vs. Flyers first 2018-19 matchup: Time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Washington Capitals snapped their three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory on the road against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. But can they build off that and gain some momentum with a win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday?

The Caps' three-game skid was their longest losing streak of the season, falling to Nashville on New Year's Eve and then to the Blues and Stars in the first week of 2019. But they finally rebounded with a W in Detroit, thanks to a late goal from Michal Kempny at 16:08 in the third.

Looking ahead, Washington faces a struggling Flyers team at home for the first of four matchups this season. And while the Caps are sitting at the top of the Metropolitan Division with a two-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia is 15-20 and comfortably at the bottom, three points behind the New Jersey Devils. 

And if you thought the Caps' losing streak was bad, it's nothing compared to what's been happening in Philly. The Flyers have lost six straight games -- two heartbreakers in overtime -- and have won just three of their last 14 games. 

Can the Caps stay hot and deal the Flyers their 15 consecutive loss? Here's everything you need to know about Tuesday's Metro Division matchup.

CAPITALS-FLYERS: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington and NBC Sports Network

Live stream: You can live stream Capitals at Penguins on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7, 106.7 The Fan FM

FLYERS AT CAPITALS TV SCHEDULE

4:30/6:00 PM: Caps GameDay Live: Philadelphia Flyers @ Washington Capitals
6:30 PM: Caps FaceOff Live
7:00 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:30 PM: Flyers @ Capitals
10:00 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live

FLYERS AT CAPITALS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: No injured players

Flyers: C Nolan Patrick (day-to-day, Jan. 4), G Michal Neuvirth (day-to-day, Jan. 4), C Corban Knight (injured reserve, Jan. 3), D Andrew MacDonald (injured reserve, Jan. 4), G Anthony Stolarz (injured reserve, Jan. 5)

FLYERS AT CAPITALS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals: Ovi is having a stand-out season, and although his14-game point streak was snapped in December, he's looking to bounce back from the slight lull that followed -- a lull by his standards anyway. Since his point streak ended on Dec. 19, Washington's captain has only found the back of the net once. He has two points in the Caps' first three games of 2019, but considering he still leads the league with 30 goals this season, he'll always be a player to keep an eye on.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Capitals: Although Kuzy has not scored since Dec. 2, he finished the Caps' win over the Red Wings with two assists and is third on the team with helpers with 29 this season, behind Nicklas Backstrom (34) and John Carlson (33). While the Caps' center had a hand in Michal Kempny's game-winning goal, his first assist against Detroit was on a Tom Wilson goal and marked Kuzy's 300th career point. 

Claude Giroux, LW, Flyers: Despite the Flyers' struggles, their winger is projected to finish with one of his career-best points totals. At the halfway mark this season, Giroux has racked up 46 points -- 13 goals and 33 assists -- which put him among the league's best. He's tied for No. 12 in the league in assists and is in the top 25 in overall points. His last goal, however, was back on Dec. 27 in the Flyers' overtime loss to Tampa Bay.

CAPITALS-FLYERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time meetings: 215
All-time series record: Flyers lead 103-82-11-19
Last meeting: Flyers won, 6-3, March 18, 2018
2018-19 record: Flyers led, 3-1
Last 10 in regular season: 5-5 tie
Last playoff matchup: Caps won, 4-2, in the Eastern Conference First Round

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Alex Ovechkin will skip the 2019 NHL All-Star Game

Alex Ovechkin will skip the 2019 NHL All-Star Game

Alex Ovechkin has decided not to attend the 2019 All-Star Game despite being named the Metropolitan Division captain. On Wednesday, Ovechkin informed the league he will sit out the game in order to take advantage of the bye week and prepare for the second half of the season. Mike Vogel was the first to report the news.

“First of all, thanks for all the fans who voted for me,” Ovechkin said after Wednesday’s practice. “I know it’s a tough decision, obviously. I like to be part of all the events, but right now I think that time of the year and my age we decide to take a one-week break. It’s hard, but it’s better for me, I think, at this point.”

Though it is not yet official, by deciding not to play in the All-Star Game Ovechkin will receive a one-game suspension from the league which will most likely be served in the team’s first game back on Feb. 1 when the Caps host the Calgary Flames.

After failing to score in six straight games, his longest drought of the season, Wednesday’s decision led to some speculation as to whether he could perhaps be dealing with an injury. Both he and head coach Todd Reirden denied that was the case.

This decision was based on one thing and one thing only: Rest.

“It’s been a long year the last year and that’s why,” Ovechkin said. “We want to do the same exact thing like last year. I like to be involved, I like to be in those kinds of games when there’s all the best players out there, but I think my body needs a little rest and I want to take a week off and get ready [for the rest of the season].”

If Ovechkin wants rest, he certainly is going to get it. Assuming he does miss the game on Feb. 1, that means he will have 10 days in between games from Jan. 23 in Toronto to Feb. 3 vs. Boston.

Ovechkin has played in the All-Star Game seven times in his career, but Wednesday’s decision is not the first time he has missed the game after being named an All-Star. In 2012, Ovechkin was serving a three-game suspension that overlapped the Game. Though he was still eligible to play, Ovechkin withdrew.

In 2016, Ovechkin withdrew due to a lower-body injury. Despite claiming an injury, however, he still received a one-game suspension from the NHL.

Full 2019 NHL All-Star Game Rosters

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