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Capitals wrap up 2016 with satisfying 6-2 win in New Jersey

Capitals wrap up 2016 with satisfying 6-2 win in New Jersey

On Thursday in Washington, the Capitals couldn't solve the puzzle that was Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid. On Saturday in New Jersey, however, they had no such issues, as they racked up six goals in an easy victory to close out 2016.

How it happened: In a wild afternoon affair filled with goals, crazy bounces and a ton of whistles, the Capitals prevailed thanks to a relentless attack.

Brett Connolly got things rolling about three minutes after the first puck drop, when he flipped in a backhand off of a sweet backdoor feed from Andre Burakovsky. Jay Beagle bookended Washington's first period with a tip-in goal of his own after Brooks Orpik lofted a wrister from just in front of the blue line. It was the second frame, though, that contained the most action; there, the Caps scored thrice more but also saw players take five separate trips to the penalty box (the same amount they took in the opening 20 minutes, as a matter of fact), while the Devils took three trips but were held scoreless.

In the third, with the outcome decided, Philipp Grubauer let in a second New Jersey goal, but held strong overall to improve his overall record to 6-1-1. Marcus Johansson was the last Washington player to tally a goal, his 14th.

What it means: Washington's record against fellow Metropolitan Division peers bumps back up to 5-5-4, and their overall record sits at 21-9-5 as the calendar turns to 2017. 

Turning point: The Devils turned an Evgeny Kuznetsov turnover into a Kyle Palmieri goal in the early stages of the second period as they tried to recover from a lackluster first. But T.J. Oshie whizzed a rebound past a flailing Kinkaid less than five minutes later to give Washington their two-goal lead back, and 33 seconds later, Alex Ovechkin deposited a scoring strike of his own. Palmieri's effort temporarily gave the Devils life, but Oshie and Ovi's answers snuffed out any potential rally.

Closing in on a thousand: Alex Ovechkin's two-point day (one goal, one helper) has him now just six away from 1,000 for his career. Matt Niskanen, meanwhile, notched his 200th career assist on Ovechkin's second-period finish.

Making themselves at home: Before Saturday, the Devils were 9-3-2 at home, but the Caps were rude house guests in the Prudential Center from the get-go.

Scary moment early on: John Moore was taken off on a stretcher after a first period hit by Tom Wilson. On the play, Wilson checked Moore as he was working the boards behind his own net, and the collision caused Moore's neck to whip and his head to crash into the glass. It was reported on the game broadcast that Moore was taken to an area hospital for observation. Wilson and Luke Gazdic later dropped the gloves in the second period as the Devils tried to defend their teammate.

Looking ahead: While most people will, the Caps won't get any rest to start off 2017. They'll return home and face the Ottawa Senators at the Verizon Center at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday and then will play twice more in Washington during the work week.

MORE CAPITALS: FB LIVE - WHY ARE CAPS LESS PHYSICAL THIS YEAR?

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Hath's Heroes is keeping Garnet Hathaway busy during the quarantine

Hath's Heroes is keeping Garnet Hathaway busy during the quarantine

Like the rest of us, Capitals' winger Garnet Hathaway is just trying to stay sane and helping out where he can.

His charity, Hath's Heroes, which provides meals to first responders, is especially important in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Hath's Heroes started working with Capitals' Chef Robert "Robbie" Wood to provide even more meals to first responders, which Wood is matching, plus an additional meal to a high-risk individual in need.

“Chef Robbie has been serving the Caps for a long time and makes unbelievable food, I can attest to it, and they also have a great initiative with Kid Power and DC Central Kitchen," Hathaway said on the Capitals Talk Podcast.

While many are fortunate to be able to work from home or be with family during the pandemic, first responders are out on the front lines.

“It’s the social responsibility of staying safe, keeping your distance and trying to stay healthy and protecting those around you," Hathaway said. "So I feel that’s where we can all feel great about helping somebody, by taking responsibility for your actions and helping out if you can."

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE CAPITALS TALK PODCAST:

Doing one's part is important to flatten the curve and Hathaway says donations of any amount are appreciated.

“For donations, if you can, if you have the opportunity to and you’re capable of, any amount really does make a difference.”

When he's not working with Hath's Heroes, Hathaway has been spending time with his fianceé and dog and trying to learn the Harmonica he got for Christmas. "Silent Night" was the first song he learned to play.

“Months away from the Christmas season, but I think I’ll be ready by then," Hathaway said.

Aside from downtime, Hathaway has taken solace in finding structure in his day.

“I think the biggest thing is trying to find a structure that works, that I can stay physically healthy and mentally healthy." 

“For everyone that’s feeling cooped up in their house, they gotta stay active and they gotta get some fresh air and they gotta stay healthy," Hathaway said.

While everyone has been binge-watching Netflix's hit documentary "Tiger King," Hathaway says he hasn't had the opportunity to watch yet.

“I might be the only person in America not watching Tiger King, but that’s not to say that I won’t get there at some point."

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Bachelorette's Dylan Barbour on which Caps player he most identifies with

Bachelorette's Dylan Barbour on which Caps player he most identifies with

In a fun Twitter thread Wednesday, the Nashville Predators said which NHL teams notable Bachelor and Bachelorette alum align with.

The Caps lucked out and got the dependable Dylan Barbour who is "solid" and "committed," a testament that Barbour himself agreed with.

"It's the Caps' year," Barbour told NBC Sports Washington in a private message on Twitter. "They're dependable. Committed is great."

Although Barbour doesn't consider himself a hockey fan, he said he would most identify with "whoever the nice handsome one is."

Though Barbour doesn't seem to be a big enough Caps fan to know that most fans would give that award to Tom Wilson, he was nice enough to say he thinks it's the Caps' year.

And we've successfully created a new Tom Wilson stan!

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