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Capitals' offense explodes again in rout of St. Louis

Capitals' offense explodes again in rout of St. Louis

This one wasn't close. The Caps scored early and often in a 7-3 rout of the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

How it happened: The Caps jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from Andre Burakovsky and Jay Beagle in the first period. Jaden Schwartz pulled the Caps to within one early in the second and that would be as close as the Blues came. Washington scored four goals in the second period to take complete control and they didn't let up in the third period with Evgeny Kuznetsov adding the exclamation point.

What it means: With the win and Columbus' loss, the Caps now sit atop the NHL standings with the most points in the league (66). The win extends the Caps’ point streak to 12 games and improves their record to 17-2-3 in their last 22 games. Washington remains undefeated against the Central Division with a 7-0-0 record this season.

Switcheroo: Blues goalie Jake Allen was pulled in the first period after allowing his second goal of the game on just the third shot he faced. The move was only brief, however, as Allen was put back in after just 2:22. He was then pulled again in the second period after allowing just four goals on 10 shots. Allen is the fourth goalie to get chased by the Caps since Jan. 5.

Offensive outburst: Washngton has scored at least four goals in nine of their last 11 games. Over that 11 game stretch, the Caps have 54 total goals and only seven have come on the power play.

Spreading the wealth: Seven different Caps players scored on Thursday in the rout including Burakovsky and Brett Connolly as the third line remained red-hot. The third line has now combined for 10 goals in the past six games.

Look ahead: The Caps finish their dad’s trip on Saturday in Dallas. They return to Verizon Center on Monday to host the Carolina Hurricanes.

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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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T.J. Oshie has surgery on injured clavicle

T.J. Oshie has surgery on injured clavicle

Caps forward T.J. Oshie underwent surgery on his right clavicle, the team announced on Sunday. 

Oshie was injured in Game 4 of the team’s series against Carolina when Hurricanes' forward Warren Foegele cross-checked Oshie in the back, resulting in him being knocked over face-first into the boards, appearing to strike them with his right shoulder and in a large amount of pain.

The team responded in Game 5 back at Capital One Arena, crushing Carolina 6-0 to take a 3-2 series lead.

As the game drew to a close, the fans on deck in the nation's capital, including Redskins' linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, began chanting Oshie's name, and it will give you chills.

The Caps will look to close out the series in Carolina on Tuesday.

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