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Battered and bruised Caps manage late win over Red Wings

Battered and bruised Caps manage late win over Red Wings

The Caps lost three players in the first period but earned the win 1-0 with a late third-period goal.

How it happened: The Caps played with only nine forwards for the last two periods of the game, but still managed the win as Jay Beagle broke a scoreless tie with 5:11 remaining regulation. Braden Holtby also came up big for the Caps with 25 saves en route to his 24th career shutout.

What it means: The short-term gain is a win and two points. The long term effects are yet to be seen as the Caps will have to evaluate the health of T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller and Andre Burakovsky who all left in the first period due to injury. Heading into Friday's game, the Caps had zero man-games lost this season. That perfect streak now looks to be very much in jeopardy.

Dropping like flies: The first period was not kind to the Caps as five players left down the tunnel to the locker room. T.J. Oshie took the worst of an open-ice collision with Riley Sheahan and slowly made his way over to the bench. Tom Wilson was sent head-first into the boards by Danny DeKeyser on a hit that received a five-minute major for boarding. He left for the locker room, but returned soon after. While skating with the puck, Lars Eller took two hits from Tyler Bertuzzi and did not return after that shift. Late in the period, Burakovsky was seen doubled over on the bench and went to the locker room soon after. Finally, Justin Williams took what he believed to be a slew foot from Tomas Tatar. He immediately got up and tried to fight Tatar, but the Detroit winger wasn’t having it. Williams was assessed a minor for roughing and then he went back to the locker room and Alex Ovechkin served the penalty. Of those five players, Oshie, Eller and Burakovsky did not return to the game.

Power play struggles continue: The Caps scored two power play goals Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but neither came at 5-on-4. They failed to strike with the extra man again on Friday despite having two opportunities including a five-minute major to work with in the first period. The last time the Caps scored a goal at 5-on-4 was on Oct. 29 against the Vancouver Canucks. With no goal tonight, that extends their 5-on-4 slump to 10 games.

Beagle to the rescue again: Beagle is having an incredible season and he continued that with another clutch performance on Friday. Positioned right in front of goalie Jimmy Howard, Beagle was in perfect position to knock home a rebound off of a Dmitry Orlov shot for the game's only goal. It was Beagle's second game-winning goal of the season, tying a career high, and fourth goal overall.

Look ahead: The Capitals continue their five-game home stand on Sunday with a matinee matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets. On Wednesday, they welcome the St. Louis Blues and then close out the homestand on Friday against the Buffalo Sabres.

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Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

The Capitals may not be participating in Stadium Series this year, but the team is embracing outdoor hockey around Washington for spirited game day fun.

The Caps are hosting Rock The Rink skates at The Wharf, Penatgon Row, Rockville Town Square and The Avenue at White Marsh on select game days from January to March 2020. Fans attending these events can wear Capitals jerseys or gear to get either $5 off admission or free skate rentals.

The Wharf

Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., and Feb 17. at 1 p.m.

Transit Pier will boast a Capitals-paneled ice rink with an ice resurfacer, trivia contests, giveaways, along with a DJ. The Capitals Campire will also boast Adirondack chairs around a fire to roast marshmallows for smores in front of a 14-foot jumbotron screen to watch the Capitals games. 

Pentagon Row

Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 6 p.m.

These skates will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants. The Caps games will also be on at surrounding bars. 

The Avenue at White March

Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

This event will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants.

Rockville Town Square

Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.

In addition to the above fun, Rockville native and Capitals hockey ambassador Haley Skarupa will be there on Jan. 31. You can watch the Capitals game at local bars as well. 

Fans attending these events or using local outdoor rinks this season are encouraged to post about it on social media by tagging @capitals and using the hashtag #RockTheRink to enter themselves for a chance to win prizes.

Caps slept through the first 40 minutes, they did not give Holtby much help though he was bad in his own right and Vrana sure did show something with the game-winning goal.

As for no penalties...not so much.

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

Down 4-1, the Capitals scored five goals in the third period for the incredible 6-4 comeback win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick pulling him in a tie with Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals.

Here is how the Caps won.

Ovechkin

Ovechkin was hot coming in with five goals in his past two games. He scored midway through the first period, getting a great pass in stride from Nicklas Backstrom to launch him behind the defense. Just as the defense closed in he fired a wrister past Semyon Varlamov to make it 1-0.

There is...pretty much nothing positive to say after that until the third period. There was a great 5-on-3 penalty kill, but it was essentially negated as they allowed a goal soon after. The Islanders built a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes and it looked all but over.

But after Carl Hagelin made it 4-2, Ovechkin pulled the Caps to within one, pulling the vintage back-to-front Ovechkin curl-and-drag before passing to the front where the puck deflected off the boot of Ryan Pulock and in.

After Jakub Vrana made it 5-4, Ovechkin added the empty-netter for the knockout punch.

With three goals, Ovechkin now has 34 on the season. He passed Mario Lemieux and tied Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals. Incredibly, this is the first time in his career Ovechkin has three straight multi-goal games.

Motivation

Just what exactly lit the fire under the Caps butts for that third period will probably be a talking point after the game. Was it Devon Toews doing the bird celebration after he scored to make it 4-1? Was it pulling Braden Holtby and starting Ilya Samsonov in the third period? Was it something Todd Reirden or one of the players said?

Whatever it was, it was a different Caps team that took the ice for the third period.

Hagelin's turnaround

As great as Ovechkin's performance was -- and it was epic -- it might not happen without the Carl Hagelin's early third-period tally.

The comeback was sparked by Hagelin's goal that came less than three minutes into the final frame. A great pass by Richard Panik set Hagelin up on the doorstep and he hit it home.

That goal made it 4-2 and a two-goal deficit seems a lot less daunting than a three-goal one.

Shaky Varlamov

Once Ovechkin made it 4-3, you could smell the blood in the water. Washington had gotten to Varlamov and the flood gates were open.

Dmitry Orlov took the puck up to the top of the faceoff circle and fired a slap shot that Wilson managed to get a stick to and deflected it through Varlamov to tie the game.

About three minutes later, Vrana intercepted a pass and fired a quick shot to beat Varlamov far-side for the 5-4 lead.

Varlamov faced 10 shots in the third period and allowed four goals. The fifth came on an empty net.

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