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Canadiens drop Caps to 0-3 for 1st time since '93


Canadiens drop Caps to 0-3 for 1st time since '93

WASHINGTON (AP) Andrei Markov's resurgence continued with a goal and an assist, and the Montreal Canadiens cruised to a 4-1 win Thursday night over the Washington Capitals, who are 0-3 for the first time in nearly two decades.

Finally healthy after twice tearing the ACL in his right knee, Markov was part of a second-period spree in which the Canadiens scored in all sorts of ways against a Capitals team that is out of sorts. In order, Montreal's goals came 5-on-3, 5-on-4 and 5-on-5 in a little over 6 minutes to take a 3-0 lead.

Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges scored for the Canadiens, and Carey Price made 30 saves. Montreal, the worst team in the Eastern Conference a year ago, has won two straight under new coach Michel Therrien since opening the season with a loss to Toronto.

The Capitals also have a new coach teaching a new system, and he is having a much harder time getting his players in gear after a compressed training camp in the lockout-shortened season. Adam Oates' team has been outscored 14-6 through three games, with seven of the opponents' goals coming on power plays.

Joey Crabb's goal with 2:23 to play was the lone goal for the Capitals, and two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin remains without a goal on the season. Oates shook things up by putting Wojtek Wolski on the first line with Ovechkin, and the two ran into each other in the offensive zone in the first period. Michal Neuvirth made his first start of the season in net, but he had a realistic chance to stop only one of the four Montreal goals.

The result was frequent booing throughout the game for the Capitals, who are 0-3 for the first time since dropping six straight to start the 1993-94 season.

Washington also ended a six-game winning streak against Montreal and lost in regulation to the Canadiens for the first time since Nov. 20, 2009.

Markov has three goals on the season, helping to mitigate the absence of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who is a restricted free agent and has yet to come to terms on a new contract.

Markov supplied the assist on the game's first goal, sliding the puck to Plekanec during a two-man advantage while Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer were in the penalty box.

Markov put in an easy rebound to make it 2-0 during a power play just 63 seconds later.

The third goal came after a classic defensive lapse. Three Capitals chased the puck into the corner, leaving Gionta alone in front of the net to receive a pass from Rene Bourque.

Josh Gorges made it a four-goal lead late in the second period.

Notes: Washington hasn't been shut out by Montreal since 2008, but the Capitals have shut out Montreal five times during that span. ... Matt Hendricks, who got into a fight in Washington's previous game to try to give his team a boost, was at in again Thursday, tussling with Montreal's Brandon Prust in the third period.


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John Carlson sees a centralized tournament as a 'longshot' for the NHL

John Carlson sees a centralized tournament as a 'longshot' for the NHL

It has been almost a month since the NHL season was paused. As the calendar has turned from March to April, that has people getting antsy for a possible return. Though NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman cautioned that the league was still weeks away from making any decisions about returning to action, different scenarios are beginning to be discussed. Not everyone, however, believes all of those proposals are realistic.

One proposal, as reported by Elliotte Friedman, is a centralized tournament in North Dakota, similar to the MLB's plan of gathering all the teams in Arizona to play the season. The basic idea is that the teams would gather into one location where they can be isolated. Travel would not be necessary as the teams would be playing in empty arenas.

The idea of a centralized tournament seems to be gaining some traction as the league would not need to wait until the coronavirus pandemic ends. Instead, it would be a way for the league to get back into action earlier by playing in empty arenas and mitigating the risk of the spread of the virus to players and personnel as much as possible.

Not everyone, however, is sold.

“I think it seems like a longshot, but I think that any option is a good option at this point with all the uncertainty going around," John Carlson said Wednesday on a video conference when asked about a centralized tournament. "I think it would be cool. We’ve all been away from each other for a while now and it would be nice to have the abbreviated training camp and maybe play as many games as we need to at something like that. That would kick start everyone back into gear and get ready for the rest of the season and the playoffs.”

Carlson shared he was of the opinion that having at least an abbreviated finish to the regular season would be beneficial, but he understands that may not be possible. In fact, it doesn't sound as if he expects that even to be a realistic scenario.

As various reports of proposals for the NHL MLB and even the NBA potentially playing in Las Vegas, Carlson is trying not to get his hopes up and is keeping both feet planted firmly in the real world.

"I'm just worried about playing at this point," Carlson said. "I don't want to be too optimistic of coming back so quickly and being able to finish the regular season and all that. All I'm thinking about right now is trying to keep myself in the best shape that I can with the circumstances and whatever the rest of the season holds, I'll worry about that when I lace the skates up again."


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Watch: Sergei Ovechkin dancing is the cutest thing you'll see all day

Watch: Sergei Ovechkin dancing is the cutest thing you'll see all day

Welcome to Club Ovechkin hosted by yours truly, Sergei!

Wednesday afternoon Nastya Ovechkin posted the cutest video of her son Sergei, now 19-months-old and showing off his dance moves.

Sergei was getting down to Зацепила (“Hooked”) by musician and family friend Arthur Pirozhkov.

He's got some moves for a one-year-old so who knows what other skills he'll get from momma and papa Ovechkin. 

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