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3 bold predictions: Washington looks to snap skid in Philadelphia

3 bold predictions: Washington looks to snap skid in Philadelphia

The Caps have lost both of their games since returning from the bye. They will look to get snap that skid Wednesday in Philadelphia against the Flyers (8 p.m., NBCSN). Here are three bold predictions for the game.

1. Washington will lead after the first period

The Caps had bad starts in both of their games over the weekend, especially on Sunday against the Rangers in which they gave up 19 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes. Washington knows that to get back to their winning ways, they need a strong start Wednesday.

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2. Players will be given matching minors

It’s always contentious when the Caps play the Flyers, especially when the game is in Philadelphia. I would call for a fight, but no one fights anymore. At some point, things will get heated to the point that a player from each side will be sent to cool off in the penalty box.

3. Washington’s third line will score

This is not so much as a prediction as it is a challenge. In the two games the Caps have played against the Flyers this season, Andre Burakovsky has scored in both games. Burakovsky, however, is out with injury and Zach Sanford is in his place. The third line has been able to find success against Philadelphia this season and that will continue tonight with Sanford playing alongside Brett Connolly and Lars Eller.

MORE CAPITALS: Sanford is making the most of his opportunity

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Capitals make lineup changes after Game 3 debacle

Capitals make lineup changes after Game 3 debacle

RALEIGH — Adjustments are the name of the game in the Stanley Cup playoffs. After a 5-0 drubbing by the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, the Capitals need to make a few. 

Washington coach Todd Reirden has made some tweaks to his lineup with Game 4 approaching on Thursday. The Capitals are still in front with a 2-1 series lead, but they know that can change quickly with another performance like Monday’s. 

Reirden shifted his forward lines around at practice on Wednesday at PNC Arena. T.J. Oshie moves up to the top line to play with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom while Tom Wilson drops to the second line to play with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jakub Vrana. 

Oshie was critical of his own play, but he does have a goal in this series and this seems like a move more to help Kuznetsov and Vrana get more space with Wilson on their line. Shots have been hard to come by in the series for Washington. Kuznetsov does have three assists, but Vrana doesn’t yet have a point. 

“Playoffs you kind of make adjustments and there’s pushbacks from both teams depending on how the last game went – or even the last period went,” Oshie said. “And they won the Game 3 pushback. Game 4 momentum is on their side, we have to get it back, play physical, play strong, play for each other, block shots, be better.”

So while Reirden flipped his top two right wings, he also flipped his bottom two left wings. Carl Hagelin will play on a revamped fourth line with Nic Dowd and Travis Boyd. Andre Burakovsky moves up to play with Lars Eller and Brett Connolly. The bottom six forwards have just one point in the series – Eller’s empty-net goal in Game 1. 

Depth scoring was so critical for Washington in its run to the Stanley Cup last spring. Hagelin kills penalties, but this move only makes sense if they’re trying to add to that depth scoring and get the fourth line more ice time. Boyd joins the lineup for the first time this series and is more skilled offensively than Chandler Stephenson, the man he replaces. That theoretically should make it harder for Carolina to match lines the way it wants to.
 
“You need to forget about it, but also realize what went on,” Wilson said. “I think as a group our compete and our effort just wasn’t what it needed to be. So you have to use that. You can’t just think it’s all good.”

The blueline had just one change. Rookie Jonas Siegenthaler will make his playoff debut in place of Christian Djoos, who has been on the ice for four of Carolina’s 10 goals. Siegenthaler’s size and poise under pressure could help there. Djoos is just 170 pounds and has been targeted by Carolina in his limited ice time. But he can always skate the puck out of trouble and that’s a question mark with Siegenthaler, who played 26 games in the NHL this season. 

“I felt like we wanted the game to come a little easier to us and they ramped up their game,” Oshie said. “You could tell with not only the score, but the shots and how the play went. We’ve got to be better and we will.” 

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D.C. Good Samaritan Tom Wilson nominated for King Clancy Trophy

D.C. Good Samaritan Tom Wilson nominated for King Clancy Trophy

Tom Wilson has been formally recognized for all his good deeds. 

The Capitals right-winger was nominated for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy by the Capitals organization for his involvement with Forty Three’s Friends, So Kids Can, Top Shelf Teammates as well as other initiatives, some of which he launched himself, according to the Capitals' website.

“He’s always one of the first in line to do stuff for charity,” said Capitals head coach Todd Reirden at a press conference on Wednesday. “Charity projects, started his own program this last year, just always willing to give back.” 

This season, Wilson started So Kids Can, in which he donated four tickets per game to Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic children across 20 games. Wilson took the recipients in the Capitals locker room following each game for one-on-one interactions. 

Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby participate with Wilson in So Kids Can, in which each athlete donates $50 (during the regular season) and $100 (during the playoffs) per win to a local nonprofit organization. 

This season, the group has been raising money for Heart of America, partnering with Hendley Elementary School to supply them with 75 laptops and 45 tablets. The players surprised the school in November by announcing that Hendley was the recipient of a So Kids Can and Heart of American Foundation makeover.

Since the 2013-14 season, Wilson has been a part of Top Shelf Teammates. Through this, he donated $10,000 to the Fort DuPont Ice Hockey Club. 

Three finalists will be announced on April 23, and the winner will be announced at the 2019 NHL Awards on June 19. The winner will receive $40,000 to benefit a charities of the winner’s choice, and two runners-up will each receive $5,000 to donate.

All nominees are nominated by their clubs, and the winner will be selected by a committee of senior NHL executives, led by Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, according to the NHL's website

The selection committee will chose their winner and subsequent finalists by examining the following criteria:

  • Clear and measurable positive impact on the community
  • Investment of time and resources
  • Commitment to a particular cause or community
  • Commitment to the League's community initiatives (Hockey is for Everyone, Hockey Fights Cancer, Future Goals, Learn to Play, NHL Green, etc.)
  • Creativity of programming
  • Use of influence; engagement of others


The last Capital to win the award was Olaf Kolzig for the 2005-06 season. The former goaltender co-founded Athletes Against Autism after learning that his son, Carson, was autistic. Additionally, he worked closely with the Children’s Medical Center after coming to D.C. in the late 1990s, purchasing season tickets to give to hospital patients and allowing them to be his special guests at games. He raised over $650,000 through multiple charity endeavors, all contributing to his receipt of the Memorial Award. 

Kolzig is the only Capital to have won the Memorial Award, putting Wilson in the position to be the second.

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