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Capitals likely to keep same line combos going into Game 7

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Capitals likely to keep same line combos going into Game 7

If Tuesday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex is any indication, there will not be any drastic changes to the Capitals lineup for Wednesday night’s Game 7 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Despite Monday’s recall of defenseman Nate Schmidt from the Hershey bears, Tim Gleason slated on a third defense pairing with Mike Green, while Schmidt took turns on a fourth pairing with Dmitry Orlov.

As for the forward lines, nothing changed from the end of Game 6, when a new combination of center Evgeny Kuznetsov played between left wing Jason Chimera and Joel Ward and the trio combined for three goals.

Eric Fehr, sidelined since April 19 with an upper body injury, skated as an extra foreward, along with center Michael Latta.

Here’s how the Caps looked at practice:

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Marcus Johansson

Jason Chimera-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Joel Ward

Andre Burakovsky-Jay Beagle-Troy Brouwer

Curtis Glencross-Brooks Laich-Tom Wilson

Extras: Michael Latta, Eric Fehr [upper body]

Defense pairings

Brooks Orpik-John Carlson

Karl Alzner-Matt Niskanen

Tim Gleason-Mike Green

Extras: Dmitry Orlov, Nate Schmidt

Goalies

Braden Holtby-Justin Peters

Tampa loses Callahan: The Tampa Bay Lightning, a possible third-round opponent for the Capitals, reportedly have lost forward Ryan Callahan to an emergency appendectomy. Callahan went head-to-head against Ovechkin in each of the Caps’ previous two playoff series against the Rangers in 2012 and 2013.

History supports Rangers: The Rangers are 9-0 in their last nine home elimination games dating back to 2008. They are 13-3 in 16 elimination games since the start of the 2012 playoffs and they are 6-0 all-time in Game 7s at the Garden.

Remembering Messier’s guarantee: Much has been made about Ovechkin’s post-game comment on Sunday night, when he said, “We’re going to come back and win the series.”

Messier’s exact quote prior to Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals against the Devils was very similar:

“We’re going to go in and win Game 6,” Messier said.

Of course, Messier backed up those words by recording a hat trick in a 4-2 victory at the Meadowlands, securing a Game 7 the Rangers won in double overtime.

Last year, Messier told the New York Daily News that he was simply saying what he thought his teammates needed to hear.

“My intention was purely focused on the 20 players and our team,” Messier told the Daily News. “At the time, I was so focused on figuring out a message that I failed to realize that every other New Yorker out there and every New Jersey Devil would be reading it in all the papers the next day.”

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Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

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USA Today Sports

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

Nearly two weeks have passed since the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to raise their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

With one team being a first-year expansion project that turned out beautifully and the other a franchise that had not appeared in a Stanley Cup Final since 1998, there was obviously a lot on the line.

Those away from the ice had 'a lot' on the line, too.

Prior to the start of the series, each city's mayor agreed on a bet that would force the losing team's member to wear an opposing jersey at the conclusion of the Cup.

Well, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman followed through on her end of the bargain.

Here is proof of her wearing the jersey of a man who led what was arguably the greatest post-championship celebration in sports history.

 

The Capitals announced Wednesday that the team's home opener and Stanley Cup banner unveiling will be played on October 3 against the Boston Bruins.

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

The Capitals found out who their opponent will be for the home opener on Oct. 3 and it's not the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And you know what? That's OK. Winning the Stanley Cup was awesome and the banner raising will be an incredible scene regardless. 

Plus, the Penguins need that night off because they have to get ready for their own home opener on Oct. 4 against...the Caps?

Wait, what?

In 2016, the Capitals were in attendance as the Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner. That had to sting considering Pittsburgh eliminated Washington in the playoffs.

It has not become a tradition to make rivals watch as teams raise banners and there's nothing that said the NHL had to schedule the Penguins for Washington's home opener. But it does seem odd that the NHL is going to make the defending Stanley Cup champions play a back-to-back right out of the gate with the second end coming against their archrivals in Pittsburgh.

Hey Caps, it's the NHL here. Congrats again. Vegas is a hell of a city, am I right? So, listen...we thought about it and decided you won't get to raise your banner against your rivals. Sorry about that. We tried and we couldn't get them for your first game. Good news though, we moved it all the way up to the second game, we just couldn't get it any sooner than that. You'll be playing them the second game of the season...the night after your home opener...in Pittsburgh...for their home opener. Anyway, good luck on the repeat.

Makes sense.

Look, if Washington can't have Pittsburgh for the home opener fine. It would have been nice, but it's really not a big deal. Raising the banner will be special regardless of who the opponent will be. But don't turn around and make the Caps play in the Penguins' home opener the very next day.

The schedule makers did the Caps no favors with this one.

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