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Capitals come up empty in regular season finale against Panthers

Capitals come up empty in regular season finale against Panthers

Final score: Florida Panthers 2, Washington Capitals 0

How it happened: Despite playing without some of their more important players, the Capitals were the aggressors in the first period on Sunday night. But the Capitals appeared to take a bit off the gas in the second and third period as the playoffs came into focus. The Panthers got things started with a shorthanded goal in the second period after the Capitals were unable to clear the puck out of their own zone.

After Phillipp Grubauer replaced Holtby for the third period, Denis Malgin found the back of the net on a power-play to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. Panthers' goalie James Reimer finished with a 29-save shutout.

What it means: Nothing. The Capitals are headed to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, beginning on Thursday. The Capitals rested T.J. Oshiem Justin Williams, Matt Niskanen and a few others on Sunday in order to be healthy for the playoffs.

RELATED: STANLEY CUP PLAY BRACKET RELEASED

Goals

Panthers goal: Derek MacKenzie got things started in a penalty kill late in the second period. Following a broken play, Colton Sceviour found MacKenzie around the crease, who was able to put it past Braden Holtby at 15:47 of the second period. 1-0 Panthers.

Panthers goal: The Capitals' committed just two penalties all game, but the first one was costly. A Tom Wilson interference penalty gave the Panthers the man=advantage midway through the third period. Denis Malgin, got a nice feed from Reilly Smith, and buried past Grubauer. 2-0 Panthers.

Look ahead: The regular season is over. The Toronto Maple Leafs are up next, with the Capitals hosting Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday, April 12.

3 Stars of the Game:

1. Evgeni Kuznetsov: The Russian forward is arguably the team's most important player as the playoffs get started. The enigmatic star is a physical force who elevates the level of his line when he;s on the ice. He was all over the ice on Sunday night, finishing with three shots, one hit and was 3-for-3 on the faceoff.

2. Garrett Mitchell: The Hershey Bears captain got called up for the Capitals final game of the season, making his NHL debut. Mitchell did solid work on the fourth line, registering a hit and skating with purpose and precision. This game was far from "meaningless" for guys like Mitchell.

3. Braden Holtby: Holtby played just two periods in the season finale. Despite the shorthanded goal, in which the Caps had ample opportunities to clear the puck, Holtby had a good dress rehearsal for the playoffs with 15 saves on 16 shots. 

 

 

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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

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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

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USA TODAY Sports

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.

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