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3 bold predictions: Can the Caps continue dominating the Penguins in Pittsburgh?

3 bold predictions: Can the Caps continue dominating the Penguins in Pittsburgh?

The Caps dominated the Penguins in their past two matchups, but both were in D.C. What will happen when both teams meet in Pittsburgh Monday?

Here are three bold predictions for the game.

1. Washington will not score on the power play

Even with four power play goals in the last four games, it would be fair to characterize the Caps’ power play as mediocre this season. One reason is because John Carlson has not been his usual prolific self. Carlson left Sunday's game with a lower-body injury and while Barry Trotz said he would travel with the team for Monday’s game, I'm not expecting big things from the power play with his health in question.

RELATED: Prediction recap: PK steps up for Caps in rout of Flyers

2. Pittsburgh will score three goals or more

Wait, a team that has won nine straight games and allowed only three goals in the last six is going to allow three to a team on a three-game losing streak? Rivalries do crazy things. Heading into their Nov. 16 matchup, Washington had lost three of its last four including a blowout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. What happened? The Caps won 7-1. Yes, Pittsburgh has lost three in a row and have lost their last two to Washington by a combined score of 12-3. What do all five of those games have in common? None of them were in Pittsburgh.

3. T.J. Oshie will have a multi-point night

The Penguins seem to bring out the best in Oshie who has seven points in three games against Pittsburgh this season. The veteran winger has 10 points in his last eight games and he’s due for another big night in Pittsburgh.

MORE CAPITALS: Philipp Grubauer is about to get more action

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T.J. Oshie puts on a memorable performance in 300th game as a Capital

T.J. Oshie puts on a memorable performance in 300th game as a Capital

300 games. 108 goals. 108 assists.

Just so you're tracking, those are T.J. Oshie's stats through 300 games as a member of the Washington Capitals.

In an outstanding 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers, Oshie scored two power play goals. It was the second time in his career that Oshie recorded two such goals.

Another shot on goal — he had four in the game — would have put him at a nice-and-even 620 during his tenure with the Capitals, but hey, we can't all be perfect.

The statistical-evenness is certainly satisfying, but even if you're not a fan of quirky stats, the man has logged 216 points in 300 games. That's pretty darn good.

T.J. Oshie will seek to continue putting up great numbers as the Capitals embark on a two-week road trip. Their first stop will be Sunday in Chicago for a showdown against the Blackhawks.

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A return six months in the making for defenseman Michal Kempny

A return six months in the making for defenseman Michal Kempny

It took six months of toil and effort for Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny to make it back to an NHL game. 

He last played March 20 when a torn hamstring in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning ended his season just a few weeks before the Stanley Cup playoffs began. That was brutal. 

A spring to heal after surgery, a summer to rehab the injury and weeks getting back in hockey shape were the steep price paid. And then it took him all of 15 minutes to score his first goal on Friday in a game against the New York Rangers. Welcome back, Michal. 

“I felt pretty good, actually. My legs felt good,” Kempny said. “Obviously not an easy situation for me. But I got to say just thank you to all of the staff, whole organization, my teammates, my family, my friends who were supporting me all the way through here and help me. It means a lot to me.”

It was an organizational project. Kempny meant so much to Washington during its Stanley Cup run of 2018. The Capitals felt his absence on the top pair with John Carlson during the first-round series loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Washington coach Todd Reirden credited team trainers Jason Servis and Mike Booi and strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish with putting Kempny in position to return early in the season.  

“Six months of investment of their time to get him back,” Reirden said. “I thought Michal looked really good.”

The goal came at 15:16 of the first period and gave Washington a 2-1 lead. Kempny jumped onto a loose pucked batted around by teammate Alex Ovechkin, quickly corralled it and beat Henrik Lundqvist for the goal. It was a pretty play and another indication that Capitals' defensemen are taking chances when they see them on the offensive end. 

In his first game back, Kempny had 14:24 of ice time. That’s about the goal the Capitals had in mind for him. He started on the third pair with fellow Czech Radko Gudas, but also played 3:42 with Carlson, who mobbed Kempny after his goal and gave him a celebratory facewash with his glove. They’re happy to have him back. 

“I just grab the puck and there was open net, so a little lucky for me,” Kempny said. “I was just excited.”

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