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Behind masterful performance from Holtby, Caps take Game 3 1-0


Behind masterful performance from Holtby, Caps take Game 3 1-0

Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 1-0 win over the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: Capitals center Jay Beagle scored a fluky goal 7:31 into the second period and Braden Holtby was the Great Wall of Chinatown, stopping all 30 Rangers shots for his second career playoff shutout and his first in exactly two years.

What it means: The Capitals grabbed a 2-1 series lead and will try to put a stranglehold on the series with a win in Game 4 Wednesday night at Verizon Center.

Holt-beast: Braden Holtby improved his career playoff record to 9-2 following losses. He has allowed two or fewer goals in each of those nine wins. Holtby’s last shutout came on May 4, 2013 when he blanked the Rangers 1-0 on an overtime goal by Mike Green. The win gave the Caps a 2-0 series lead but the Rangers rallied to win the series in seven games.

How they scored: After failing on a pair of first-period power plays, the Caps scored on a fortuitous bounce off the back of Henrik Lundqvist’s skate 7:31 into the second period. Troy Brouwer knocked Marty St. Louis off the puck on the forecheck, allowing Beagle to come off the bench and fire a shot wide left of the net. Beagle pursued his errant shot, swung around the net and banked a shot off the back of Lundqvist’s left skate for his first goal and fourth point of the playoffs. Andre Burakovsky earned the primary assist for his first career playoff point.  


Capitals’ save of the game: With 6:35 remaining in the second period and the Caps clinging to their one-goal lead, St. Louis blocked a shot by John Carlson and sprinted in alone on Braden Holtby. OK, maybe not sprinted. Because he blocked the shot, St. Louis hobbled though his first two strides but still had enough steam to close in on Holtby, only to shoot into his chest.

Rangers’ save of the game: Henrik Lundqvist made some good ones, but none better than the shoulder stop he made on Alex Ovechkin on the Caps’ first of two power plays midway through the opening period. Nicklas Backstrom made a beautiful centering pass to Ovechkin, who rarely misses with that much time and space.

Bruised, not beaten: Midway through the third period caps defenseman Brooks Orpik took a heavy hit into the glass from Rangers left wing Rick Nash and was slow to get to his feet, but he finished the game.     

Gleason in, Schmidt out: Defensemen Tim Gleason and Nate Schmidt took part in pregame warmups but when Gleason declared himself good to go after sitting out the start of Sunday’s practice with an undisclosed injury. With the AHL Hershey Bears starting Round 2 of the Calder Cup playoffs on Wednesday against the Hartford Wolk Pack, look for Schmidt to return to Hershey on Tuesday.  

What’s next: The Caps have scheduled a practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday. Game 4 is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, with Game 5 slated for Friday at 7 p.m. in New York. 

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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!


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Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan


Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

Say it ain't so.

Mitchell Gibson is the first goalie the Capitals have drafted since Ilya Samsonov in 2015, but they may be thinking twice about their selection after a recent shocking interview.

Gibson spoke with a local Philadelphia CBS station and revealed that both he and his family...are Flyers fans.

Insert dramatic music.

"I think my family will always be Flyers fans in their hearts and I guess I will be a little bit," Gibson admitted, hopefully with guilt in his voice.

Gibson was selected by the Caps in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, but clearly the scouts did not do their homework. It's as if Gibson grew up a hockey fan in a place like Phoenixville, Pa. (about an hour outside of Philadelphia) without anticipating the future that he may one day be drafted by a rival team like Washington.

Shame, shame.

The young netminder tried to make up for his horrifying admission later in the interview.

"The Capitals are definitely treating me well right now so I would like to be their goalie," he said.

A likely story.

Gibson is only 19 and set to begin his first collegiate season at Harvard in 2018 so at least there is still time for Gibson to overcome his shameful past. And hey, it could always be worse. At least he's not a Penguins fan.