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Capitals take down scorching hot Calgary Flames, 4-2

Capitals take down scorching hot Calgary Flames, 4-2

Final score: Washington Capitals 4, Calgary Flames 2

How it happened: The Caps and Flames traded first-period goals as Evgeny Kuznetsov finished off a slick pass from Andre Burakovsky, but Calgary responded with a rush goal by Sean Monahan. Things looked even in the second period until T.J. Oshie gave the Caps the lead, and Kevin Shattenkirk added another goal with less than three seconds left in the second to put the Caps up by two. Troy Brouwer pulled Calgary within one in the third, but Alex Ovechkin provided the insurance tally on the power play for the win.

What it means: The Capitals extended their point streak to four games including three wins. This is just the second loss Calgary has suffered in the past 14 games. With the win, Washington maintained its hold over first place of the Metropolitan Division.

Goals

Caps goal: Evgeny Kuznetsov from Andre Burakovsky at 6:47 in the first period. Lars Eller harassed Johnny Gaudreau in the neutral zone until Burakovsky stole the puck and started the rush. He then found Kuznetsov with pass who slickly slid the pass into the net. Caps 1, Flames 0

Flames goal: Sean Monahan from Alex Chiasson and Johnny Gaudreau at 10:06 in the first period. Kevin Shattenkirk pinched deep into the offensive zone to grab the puck along the wall, but Chiasson beat him to it and chipped it up to Monahan. He passed to Gaudreau to start the two-on-two rush. Brooks Orpik pinched too far over to Gaudreau leaving Monahan wide open for the pass which he deposited into the top corner. Caps 1, Flames 1

Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin at 15:51 in the 2nd period. Backstrom retreated to the top of the right circle and found Ovechkin through traffic with the cross-ice pass. Ovechkin made the quick pass to the slot and Oshie finished off the tic-tac-toe play by burying the puck into the net. Caps 2, Flames 1

Caps goal: Kevin Shattenkirk (power play) from Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin at 19:57 in the 2nd period. An Ovechkin shot deflected off of Deryk Engelland allowing Shattenkirk to step up for the close shot. Elliott looked like he had it tucked in his armpit, but the puck dropped and began to trickle past the line. Caps 3, Flames 1

Flames goal: Troy Brouwer from Kris Versteeg and Deryk Engelland at 15:04 in the 3rd period. Engelland decided to join the rush and just as he was being forced into the corner by Karl Alzner, he spun around for the pass that found Brouwer open in the slot for the tip-in. Caps 3, Flames 2

Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin (power play) from Nicklas Backstrom and Kevin Shattenkirk at 17:09 in the third. Ovechkin took the pass from Shattenkirk in the office and was given plenty of time to place the puck into the corner. Caps 4, Flames 2

3 stars

1. Alex Ovechkin: The Great 8 got the power play goal, plus registered an incredible 11 shots on goal to keep the pressure up on Elliott all night.

2. Nicklas Backstrom:  Ho-hum, just another three-assist night for Backstrom.

3. Brian Elliott: Don't let the score fool you. This game was close because Elliott had a fantastic night. He was very solid in the net despite giving up four goals as he turned aside 36 of the shots he faced on the night.

Look ahead: Washington hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday in a critical game for control of the Metropolitan Division. They then close out their three-game home stand on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Tell us what you think:  This is the first time the Flames have lost with Brian Elliott in net since Feb. 18 and just their second loss in 14 games. After the win, do you think the Caps are now completely back on track after that four-game skid?

More Capitals: Wendy's Frozen moments: Capitals season in pictures

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Capitals turn experimental as Stanley Cup playoffs approach

Capitals turn experimental as Stanley Cup playoffs approach

WASHINGTON – The Capitals are sick and they are tired and they are injured and they are experimenting.

That’s the takeaway with six games left to go in the regular season after a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday at Capital One Arena. Todd Reirden mixed his defensive pairs routinely and did the same in the third period with his forward lines, which led to a goal for Jakub Vrana.

Washington extended its lead in the Metropolitan Division to three points over the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. But they have been forced to look at different options thanks to an injury to defenseman Michal Kempny and illness spreading through the forward ranks at a bad time.

And so that’s how John Carlson started the game on the right side of the top pairing as usual, but was soon on the left side of the ice, with Nick Jensen moving up to replace Christian Djoos. At various times, Brooks Orpik played with Jensen and Djoos on the third pair. Kempny is out indefinitely, so Reirden doesn’t have much time to configure his ideal pairings. And trying to win a division title while doing so is problematic. 

“I feel perfectly comfortable playing with any of our D,” said Jensen, who was acquired just before the NHL trade deadline in late February. “I think they're all capable of playing great defense, and I think they're all really great D and we tend to all be on the same page a lot of the time. When we're switching up D-pairings there, it might be a little bit of an adjustment period, but we'll get used to it as it goes down the line as we keep playing with each other.”

They’d rather have Kempny, of course. Washington had turned the tide on shot attempts during the 10 games after Jensen was acquired and the lineup was stable. It was a good sign heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Unfortunately, Kempny is out indefinitely and no one is sure if or when he will return.    

“We're looking for the right combinations that work for us that can set us up for future success,” Reirden said. “Just some guys that aren't 100-percent in terms of lets say sickness wise that are low on energy so you have to manage those minutes as well. So there's a lot of things in play that cause for that type of mix and match stuff both with up front and on our blue line.” 

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Capitals' significant others show off puppies, announce Homeward Trails donations

Capitals' significant others show off puppies, announce Homeward Trails donations

If you didn't think you could love the Caps more, think again.

With an assist from some puppies, Caps' significant others Katrina Connolly, Paige Dowd, Tasha Maltman and Taylor Pischke announced a $177,000 donation to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue on the jumbotron during Sunday's 3-1 win over the Flyers.

All of the proceeds came from the Caps' 2019 canine calendars and were donated on behalf of the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. Since 2014, the foundation has donated over $400,000 to Homeward Trails through the Capitals' annual canine calendars.

The puppies featured on the jumbotron are all available for adoption.

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