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Capitals' Barry Trotz hopes NHL considers fining Nick Foligno for embellishment

Capitals' Barry Trotz hopes NHL considers fining Nick Foligno for embellishment

Nicklas Backstrom was having another one of those games. A goal in the first period. A sweet saucer pass to Alex Ovechkin for a power play tally in the second. Then...it all took a sharp turn for the worse late in the third.

Backstrom was whistled for high sticking Nick Foligno with 1:34 remaining in a tied game.

Except Backstrom’s stick did not appear to touch Foligno, who threw his head back, presumably to get the attention of the referees.

Alexander Wennberg and the NHL’s top-rated power play wasted no time potting the game winner, and the Blue Jackets escaped Verizon Center with a 3-2 win, their second over the Capitals in a span of six days.

As you might imagine, Backstrom and Coach Barry Trotz seethed afterward. Trotz, in fact, went as far as to say Foligno should face discipline from the NHL for embellishment.

“I hope the league looks at that,” Trotz said. “If you see the replay, he doesn’t really touch him. And his head pops up when Backy’s stick is on the way down.”

According to league rules, a player is subject to a warning on his first offense. After that, the league can hand out a fine of up to $5,000, depending on the number of priors.  

“The league will look at that,” Trotz said. “We have fines for that. I wouldn’t be too happy if I was a referee.”

Backstrom proclaimed his innocence, backing up what slow-mo replay showed in high definition: he went to lift the Columbus captain’s stick as he carried the puck out of the corner. And although Backstrom's stick came up high, it did not appear to make contact with Foligno’s visor.

“I didn’t touch him,” Backstrom said. “Last two minutes if you get a penalty that’s not a penalty, that’s tough. You guys seen the replay.”

Interestingly, Backstrom and Foligno were both sent off for matching roughing fouls in the second period after Backstrom took exception to a Foligno hit along the boards.

Although there was probably no connection between the two incidents, you can be certain of this much: the Caps cannot afford to have a point (or points) taken from them, particularly in the difficult Metropolitan Division. With the win, the Blue Jackets pulled to within two points of Washington in the standings.

“We should have got at least got one point out of this,” Backstrom said.

FROZEN MOMENTS: BEST IMAGES OF THE CAPITALS' SEASON THUS FAR

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NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

Friday saw the Toronto Maple Leafs pull ahead 3-2 and the Colorado Avalanche eliminate the favored Calgary Flames. Saturday provided another elimination game and two teams pulled ahead 3-2 in their series.

Here are the results from Saturday.

St. Louis Blues eliminate Winnipeg Jets with 3-2 win

The Blues return to the second round of the playoffs after they were eliminated in the first round last season.

The Blues rally started 23 seconds into the game, when Jaden Schwartz put home a Brayden Schenn rebound.

Schwartz followed with two more goals, completing the hat trick. It's the second natural hat trick in a playoff series clinching game since Geoff Courtnall in 1992.

The Blues await the winner of the Nashville-Dallas series.

Dallas Stars pull ahead of Nashville Predators in 5-3 victory

The Stars were able to steal one from the Predators at Bridgestone Arena thanks to Jason Dickinson and Alexander Radulov's two goal performances.

Tyler Seguin added a goal of his own to pull the Stars ahead 4-2 at the end of the second period, and Ben Bishop recorded 30 saves.

The Stars have a chance to close the series at home Monday night.

Washington Capitals take upperhand on Carolina Hurricanes with 6-0 shutout

After dropping Game 4 in Carolina 2-1, the Caps exploded for six goals against the Hurricanes in a 6-0 win.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the opening two goals. He leads the Capitals in playoff goals with five and had a four point night.

The Caps also got production from their bottom six with Brett Connolly's goal and Nic Dowd's converted penalty shot. It's the first penalty shot a Caps player has successfully made in the playoffs.

Braden Holtby's shutout gave him seven in the playoffs, surpassing Olaf Kolzig's six for the franchise lead. The Caps have a chance to win the series in Carolina Monday night.

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Todd Reirden on TJ Oshie's surgery: 'It's a tough situation for our team'

Todd Reirden on TJ Oshie's surgery: 'It's a tough situation for our team'

ARLINGTON — Capitals forward T.J. Oshie had a surgical procedure Friday to repair a broken right collarbone and remains out indefinitely.  

Oshie was not at Capital One Arena for Washington’s 6-0 win in Game 5 of its Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was injured with five minutes to go in Thursday’s Game 4 loss in Raleigh when nudged from behind by Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele and slamming hard into the boards near full speed. 

“There's not one person who can take T.J. Oshie's spot for all that he is as a human being, player on the ice, off the ice all the stuff that he adds,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said at his media availability on Sunday afternoon. “But what I did notice is that everybody picked their level up last night. And that's what we're going to need going into Raleigh for [Monday]."

That’s when Washington, ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, can eliminate Carolina in Game 6. It’s something it has done successfully on the road in recent years in Philadelphia (2016), Toronto (2017), Pittsburgh and Columbus (2018). All series the Capitals were up 3-2. In all four they won Game 6. 

But they won’t have Oshie this time and he is the emotional engine that has helped fuel some of those series-ending performances. There is still no exact timetable for Oshie’s return. The Capitals have avoided ruling him out for the season and Reirden artfully dodged a question about whether he’d be ready for training camp. 

A broken collarbone usually doesn’t take longer than two months to heal barring complications. But that’s almost certainly going to be after the playoffs ends even if the Capitals make a repeat run to the Stanley Cup Final. Last year they won it on June 7 in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

“I do know that T.J. Oshie is going to do everything he can, and we're not willing to put a timetable on it right now with regard to any time,” Reirden said. “Just lots of these things take a different course in terms of how they rehab and don't rehab. I just know that I can tell you about T.J., he's all-in at all times, and that's a great person to have around our room at the very least." 

Oshie had 25 goals and 29 assists in 65 regular-season games. He missed 11 of 13 games with a concussion. He had eight goals and 13 assists in the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. He also plays the “bumper” role on the top power-play unit and kills penalties.

Oshie tweeted thanks to fans both before and after Washington’s 6-0 win on Saturday. In the third period, periodic “T.J. Oshie!” chants rang from the sellout crowd at Capital One Arena. 

“It was nice to see the crowd give [Oshie] a little love,” center Nicklas Backstrom said on Saturday.  

Added Reirden: “That's obviously a tough loss for us, but we're prepared to go without him as we saw last night. It's a tough situation for our team, but I certainly liked our response last night and was proud of our effort in terms of how we played and how we were playing with him in the back of our mind."

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