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Capitals beat Bruins, 3-1

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Capitals beat Bruins, 3-1

Final Score: Washingon Capitals 3, Boston Bruins 1

How it happened: Both teams looked somewhat lethargic, as today's game had no legitimate impact for the Capitals and was Boston's last game of the season. The Caps went up early -- thanks to a pretty goal from Marcus Johansson -- and never let up, applying consistent pressure on the Bruins' defense. The Caps' defensive effort left something to be desired, but backup goalie Philipp Grubauer played admirably, registering 21 saves on the afternoon. 

What it means: Not a whole lot, to be honest. The Caps already had home-ice, the Metro Division, and the Presidents Trophy locked up. Getting a road win in the NHL is never easy, so the Caps took care of business in what was one of the team's final tuneups for the post season. If anything, the game served as a timely scouting report, as there's a good chance these two teams see each other in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Goals

Caps Goal: Marcus Johansson wasted no time getting on the board, scoring on a nice move four minutes into the first period. Johansson got a nice assist from Justin Williams en route to his 24th goal of the year. Caps 1, Bruins 0

Bruins Goal: Colin Miller evened the score at 1 by knocking in a rebound late in the second period. The goal was reviewed because the Caps' net became unlodged, but the call stood. Caps 1, Bruins 1

Caps Goal: Kevin Shattenkirk scored on a one-timer less than a minute after Boston tied the game. Backstrom and Ovechkin each got credited with an assist. Caps 2, Bruins 1

Caps Goal: Williams benefited from a few sublime offensive-zone passes from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nate Schmidt, putting the puck in the back of a wide-open net to give the Caps two goals in three minutes. Caps 3, Bruins 1

Look ahead: The Caps are back home tomorrow for the regular season finale. They'll take on the Florida Panthers, with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. 

Tell us what you think: With the regular season all but over, are the Caps peaking at the right time? How confident are you in the team's upcoming playoff run? 

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2018-19 Metropolitan Division preview: Carolina Hurricanes

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USA TODAY Sports

2018-19 Metropolitan Division preview: Carolina Hurricanes

The Capitals have won the Metropolitan Division three straight years. Can they defend their title? Here’s a preview of each team in the division for the 2018-19 season.

Today's team: Carolina Hurricanes

2017-18 Results: 36-35-11, 83 points, sixth in the division. Did not qualify for the playoffs.

Notable acquisitions: F Micheal Ferland, F Andrei Svechnikov, D Dougie Hamilton, D Calvin de Haan, G Petr Mrazek, head coach Rod Brind’Amour

Notable departures: F Elias Lindholm, F Joakim Nordstrom, F Derek Ryan, F Jeff Skinner, F Lee Stempniak, D Noah Hanifin, G Cam Ward, head coach Bill Peters

When they will play the Caps: Dec. 14 in Raleigh, Dec. 27 in Washington, March 26 in Washington, March 28 in Raleigh

Offseason recap: The offseason was one of change for the Hurricanes as new owner Tom Dundon tried to make his mark. Peters and Ron Francis are out, Brind’Amour and Don Waddell are in as coach and general manager. Carolina’s new front office had a busy offseason with a number of splashy moves.

Hanifin, Lindholm and Skinner all will have new homes next season as the Hurricanes traded all three players in two big-time trades. Hanifin and Lindholm netted the team Hamilton, Ferland and a prospect while Skinner brought back a prospect, a second, a third and a sixth-round pick.

In addition, Carolina also added Svechnikov with the second-overall pick in the draft.

Biggest strength: Defense

Carolina was solid defensively last season, it just didn't seem that way because of how bad the goaltending was. Adding de Haan and Hamilton bolsters what was already a formidable blue line.

Biggest weakness: Goaltending

Did I mention how bad their goaltending was last season? Darling and Ward combined for a .909 save percentage, better only than the Buffalo Sabres. Ward put up better numbers (2.73 GAA, .906 save percentage) than Darling (3.18 GAA, .888 save percentage), but he has moved on to the Chicago Blackhawks. To replace him, the Hurricanes picked up Mrazek who also struggled last season (3.03 GAA, .902 save percentage).

So to recap, Ward and Darling both had subpar years, but to replace Ward the Hurricanes picked up a goalie who was worse.

It makes sense that Carolina would want to give Darling another shot at earning the starting job considering they traded for him to be their starter of the future, but just because the goaltending could not get much worse than last season is no guarantee it will be better.

2018-19 season outlook: The Hurricanes enter the season with a lot of question marks.

Can Brind'Amour handle the responsibilities of being a head coach in the NHL with zero head coaching experience at any level? Did they do enough to address their scoring woes? Will someone play like a starting-caliber goalie? Is Dundon breaking the mold of an NHL owner or will his meddling negatively impact the team? Will Hamilton adjust to his new team? Is Svetchnikov ready for a top-line role in his rookie season? Is Sebastian Aho a center?

If they can find positive answers to all of those questions, this is a team that could surprise. More likely, however, there are simply too many issues in Carolina right now for this team to make any real noise.

A new owner, new general manager, new head coach and a new-look roster are too much for one team to adjust to in one season.

2018-19 season prediction: The Hurricanes miss the playoffs and it's not close.

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Heroes on the ice: Every Capitals player's superhero character

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USA TODAY Sports, Marvel and DC Comics

Heroes on the ice: Every Capitals player's superhero character

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the Washington Capitals!

It's not hard to picture your favorite athletes as superheroes. What the Caps are able to do on the ice seems almost superhuman at times.

Heck, they even have uniforms!

SEE EVERY CAPITALS PLAYER'S SUPERHERO CHARACTER HERE

But the similarities don't just end with the physical attributes and abilities. When you begin to really think about each player, you can see a lot of similarities between each of them and some well-known superheroes.

If each Caps player was a superhero, which one would they be? Check out each player's superhero character here.

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