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After losing lead, Capitals fight for win in OT

After losing lead, Capitals fight for win in OT

After blowing a three goal lead Wednesday night, Nicklas Backstrom bailed out his teammates in overtime, scoring at 1:36 to lift the Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Bruins. It marked the Caps’ second straight overtime win and seventh straight victory over Boston.

How it happened: After a pair of first period goals from Justin Williams and a second period snipe from Daniel Winnik, the Capitals owned a commanding 3-0 lead over the Bruins at home. 

Thanks for coming, right?

Wrong. 

The Bruins rallied on second period strikes by Dominic Moore and David Pastrnak. The Caps, meantime, suddenly went cold. How cold? Alex Ovechkin and Co. mustered a meager two shots in the middle stanza — a new season low. 

In the third period, the Caps’ struggles continued, and the Bruins pulled even on a goal by Colin Miller, who fired a one-timer on the power play past Braden Holtby (31 stops) to complete the comeback.

As it turned out, though, the Caps still managed to walk away with a pair of points thanks to a poorly timed line change by the Bruins in the extra session, a sweet pass from Marcus Johansson and an even sweeter shot from Backstrom, who went 5-hole on Tuukka Rask (16 saves).   

What it means: The Caps, who entered the game clinging to the second wild card spot, put a couple of points between themselves and the Devils and Lightning. After the morning skate, coach Barry Trotz said the playoff race is underway. For Washington, it is indeed.    

Oshie’s okay: T.J. Oshie returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a shoulder injury. He did not record a point in 15:11 of ice time, but he was a threat to score and the energy he brought to the bench and the ice was palpable. 

Nisky’s noggin:  Matt Niskanen was sent headfirst into the corner dasher by Patrice Bergeron late in the first period and did not return. At first the team said Niskanen had an upper body injury and was probable to come back. Then, at the start of the third period, he was ruled out for precautionary reasons. He will be reevaluated on Thursday. Bergeron, meanwhile, was assessed two minutes for boarding.  

C’mon Kuzy!: Kuznetsov finished with a pair of primary assists, marking his third multi-point game of the season. But he also committed a turnover the let the Bruins back into the game. Kuzy fumbled a puck at the offensive blue line, which Pastrnak poked ahead. Pastrnak then overpowered a backchecking Kuznetsov before pulling away and beating Holtby to cut the Bruins’ deficit to 3-2 with a minute remaining in the second.

How long?: Winnik’s goal came at 5:51 of the second period. The Caps’ next shot came at 12:18 of the third period, a span of 26:27 without one.

Looking ahead: The Capitals have a scheduled day off Thursday. They’ll return to the ice Friday night in Buffalo before hosting the Canucks on Sunday at 5 p.m.

MORE CAPS: Trotz, Ovechkin meet about penalty problem

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How to watch classic Capitals games this week on NBC Sports Washington

How to watch classic Capitals games this week on NBC Sports Washington

If you just can't get enough iconic Caps games during quarantine, then NBC Sports Washington is the place for you.

All week long beginning Monday, April 6, NBC Sports Washington will be airing classic Capitals games, including multiple comebacks and culminating with the five games against Vegas in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

The games leading into the postseason re-air will include multiple memorable finishes from the 2019-20 season.

Of course, if you make it that far, you certainly won't want to miss the re-airing of the Capitals championship parade that follows.

Here's a rundown of all the games airing this week on NBC Sports Washington:

Washington Capitals at Vancouver Canucks

Date: Monday, April 6
Time: 8 p.m.
Original Game: October 25, 2019

Backup goaltender Ilya Samsonov had a rough day in net, allowing five unanswered goals in quick succession from the end of the first period into the second. But Evgeny Kuznetsov broke the Caps' drought in the final second of the second period, sparking the team to a remarkable four-goal comeback.

The Caps would eventually win in a shootout, kicking off a six-game winning streak.

Vegas Golden Knights at Washington Capitals

Date: Wednesday, April 8
Time: 8 p.m.
Original Game: November 9, 2019

The game that capped off the Caps' aforementioned six-game winning streak - and extended their point streak to 11 - was an easier win. The Caps pulled ahead early and never looked back, keyed by Backstrom's two-goal day.

Of course, games against the Golden Knights will always have a special place in fans' hearts after the summer of 2018.

San Jose Sharks at Washington Capitals

Date: Thursday, April 9
Time: 8 p.m.
Original Game: January 5, 2020

This was as wild a finish as the Caps have had in a long time. Down 3-2, they pulled Braden Holtby late in the third period, and the Sharks took advantage with an empty-netter. Then, miraculously, the Capitals scored twice in the final 47 seconds of the game to force overtime, where they won the game.

The Caps would have considered themselves lucky just to come away with a point here, and instead, they got two in one of the most memorable finishes in franchise history.

How to watch the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, Washington Capitals vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights

All-day Sunday, April 12

Game 1
Time:
9 a.m.
Location: Las Vegas
Original Game: May 28, 2018

The first team in the nation's capital to make even a semifinal run in 20 years, the hype surrounding the Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final was immeasurable. The Golden Knights hosted Game 1 with a breathtaking opening ceremony, and the two teams jumped on each other early with a 2-2 first period. 

Washington took the lead 4-3 early in the third period, but Braden Holtby struggled during the frame and the Caps fell 6-4 to fall behind in the series, as they had throughout the postseason run.

Game 2
Time:
11:30 a.m.
Location: Las Vegas
Original Game: May 30, 2018

The Caps fell behind early in the game, but bounced back to steal a close Game 2. Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal of the series, Braden Holtby was superb - including an all-time legendary save - and the Capitals headed home tied 1-1 in the series.

Game 3
Time:
2 p.m.
Location: Washington
Original Game: June 2, 2018

The first home championship game Washington hosted in years, Game 3 was as hot a ticket as you'll ever find.

Holtby was terrific once again, allowing his only goal in the third period. Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded a goal and an assist, and to nobody's surprise, it was Ovechkin who scored the Caps' first home goal of the series.

Game 4
Time:
4:30 p.m.
Location: Washington
Original Game: June 4, 2018

Game 4 was the Caps' biggest explosion. They scored six goals in the game, including three on the power play. Six different players netted goals for the Capitals in a well-rounded effort, boosted by Backstrom's three assists.

After their easiest win of the series, the Caps were riding high up 3-1 heading back to Las Vegas.

Game 5
Time:
7 p.m.
Location: Las Vegas
Original Game: June 7, 2018

The one that needs no introduction, right? After a scoreless first period, the teams exploded for five combined goals in the second period, including a power play goal from Ovi.

Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, the Caps needed someone else to step up, and they got it. Devante Smith-Pelly tied the game midway through the frame, and Lars Eller gave them the Cup-clinching goal a few minutes later.

Holtby held on the rest of the way, and the Capitals became your 2018 Stanley Cup Champions.

Championship Parade

Time: 9:30 p.m.
Original Date: June 12, 2018

What more needs to be said? The Capitals kicked off the great summer of celebration in style, parading through Washington, D.C. and sharing the glory of their title runs during an unforgettable afternoon with thousands of fans.

If you somehow missed this live, you don't want to miss re-living it now.

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Lars Eller may be the Tiger, but Caps coach Todd Reirden is not about to lump him in with the people from 'Tiger King'

Lars Eller may be the Tiger, but Caps coach Todd Reirden is not about to lump him in with the people from 'Tiger King'

Like everyone during this time of social distancing because of the coronavirus, Todd Reirden is getting some extra time to catch up on some TV. Also like everyone, one of the shows he has watched during the NHL's pause in the season is the Netflix docuseries "Tiger King."

"I did take myself through the 'Tiger King,'" Reirden said on a conference call Monday. "That I did watch. I watched that one on my own. I did not have my wife and son in on that one. I wanted to be prepared for discussion points with the players if they had seen it. So I did watch that. I'll just leave it at that, but I did watch it."

So Reirden has watched it, but just for reference. Right.

"It's just one of those things that you want to be prepared for as a coach because you know they all have watched it and I saw the amount of people that have watched it," Reirden said. "I have not gotten into in-depth discussions but when I do get together with the players one day when things become normal again for us."

While Reirden was diplomatic about what he thought about the people featured in the series, he also made it clear he was not about to compare any of the Capitals players to Joe Exotic or any of the other...colorful characters. That includes Lars Eller.

Eller's nickname, of course, is 'Tiger' after he chose the tiger for his spirit animal in a talk with Tony Robbins. When Reirden was asked Monday if Eller was the team's "Tiger King," Reirden was pretty quick to shut that down.

"Lars Eller, I mean he is our Tiger for sure on our team," Reirden said. "I hate to couple him into the same kind of personality that's going on with the 'Tiger King, 'but certainly he has the name for it. So that's an interesting thought that I need to spend some more time on before I commit to it."

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