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3 bold predictions for Game 1: Here we go again

3 bold predictions for Game 1: Here we go again

The Caps and Penguins renew their postseason rivalry on Thursday (7:30 p.m., NBCSN). Here are three bold predictions for Game 1.

1. Washington will score first

It’s always hard to tell how teams will react to a long layoff. Sometimes they come back rusty, sometimes they look even better than before because of the rest. Six days between games, however, is a long time. When the Penguins returned from their bye week, they did win their first game back, but they lost their first three games on the road each by three goals. I am not going to come out and predict a win or a loss, but the layoff will be evident at the start of the game, especially against a Capitals team that was at its best at the end of Game 6 on Sunday.

RELATED: Holtby jokes that he'd play like Hornqvist if he were a forward

2. Patric Hornqvist will draw a penalty

One frequent topic of conversation leading up to this series has been Hornqvist and how he likes to plant himself in front of the net. Barry Trotz even said of him, “He conveniently will fall on your goalie many times.” If the Caps are talking about it, they are aware of it. The first game of the series is not just about winning and losing, teams often try to send messages to the other team too. Washington is going to tell Hornqvist he will be punished for standing in front of Braden Holtby and they are not going to use their words. That someone could even be Holtby himself who was caught slashing Nazim Kadri in Game 2 of the Caps’ first-round series against Toronto.

3. Sidney Crosby will not get a point

Crosby was held to two points in six games in last year’s series. With home-ice advantage, Barry Trotz will be able to get the matchup he wants, namely Nicklas Backstrom on Crosby. It worked last year and he is likely to go with it again. If you are Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, you could try to avoid the matchup, but you probably trust that no one in the NHL can stop Crosby forever and you still won the series despite Crosby getting only two points. If you can occupy the Caps’ top shutdown center, still produce and free up the rest of your lineup, why wouldn’t you? If Sullivan has to re-evaluate after Game 1 he will, but for Thursday I anticipate primarily seeing Washington’s best vs. Pittsburgh’s best.

MORE CAPITALS: Alzner is not yet ready as Caps prepare for Penguins

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T.J. Oshie meets up with Seattle Jr hockey players after game in Arizona

T.J. Oshie meets up with Seattle Jr hockey players after game in Arizona

Despite a 3-1 loss to the Coyotes as the Capitals continue their west coast swing, there was one good thing to come out of Saturday night.

Even after a disappointing game, T.J. Oshie took some time to visit with a young group of hockey players from the Seattle Jr Hockey Association, a minor hockey league located in the Pacific Northwest. The team happened to be in town as they participated in a travel tournament.

While this is already enough to make one smile, there's a deeper connection between Oshie and the SJHA that makes it even better. Oshie, who grew up in Washington, got his start in hockey playing in the same league as the kids he visited with. With them being in Phoenix, Oshie got the surprise opportunity to re-connect with his humble beginnings and make some young hockey players very happy.

The Caps performance on Saturday didn't give many reasons to feel good, but this moment provided by Oshie is something that will cheer anyone up.

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Capitals at Golden Knights: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Capitals at Golden Knights: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

The Washington Capitals continue their road trip, heading to Vegas looking for recover from an 3-1 attack to Antti Raanta and the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night. 

While the Caps look for a win, Alex Ovechkin looks to make history, joining the 700 goal club. Ovi currently sits just two goals short at 698 goals and has not scored a goal in four straight games now but that can change in no time. 

The Caps will face Marc-Andre Fleury and the Golden Knights on Monday night at 6 p.m. Fleury earned the victory in the net for Vegas after collecting 19 saves in their shut out game over New York Islanders. The Golden Knights have won their last two games by one goal. 

Here is everything you need to know about the Monday night game, which takes place at 6:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington. 

CAPITALS at GOLDEN KNIGHTS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals at Golden Knights, Game 59 of the 2019-20 NHL Regular Season

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV 

When: Monday, February 17 at 6:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals at Golden Knights game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Golden Knights on NBC Sports live stream page and on the MyTeams App.

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

CAPITALS at GOLDEN KNIGHTS TV SCHEDULE

5:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

5:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

6:00 PM: Capitals at Golden Knights

7:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

9:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

CAPITALS at GOLDEN KNIGHTS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Upper body, day-to-day

Golden Knights: Alex Tuch, RW, Leg, Week-to-week

CAPITALS at GOLDEN KNIGHTS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals (40-17-57): Sitting at 698 goals, Ovi remains on the brink of making history with 700 goals. As soon as Ovechkin reaches that mark he’ll be ranked among the greats including Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Jaromir Jagr.  

Braden Holtby, G, Capitals (21-12-4): Despite the Caps loss on Saturday Braden Holtby was by far the best player on the ice. Holtby stopped 28 of 30 shots during a 3-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Golden Knights (22-14-5): Fleury came in clutch earning a shutout by stopping all 19 shots that he faced in a 1-0 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday. Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his fourth shutout of the season and the 60th of his career.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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