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Caps erupt for 5 goals in blowout win to force Game 7

Caps erupt for 5 goals in blowout win to force Game 7

Final score: Washington Capitals 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 2

How it happened:  T.J. Oshie scored on the power play to give Washington the 1-0 lead in what was a dominant start for the Caps. Washington limited Pittsburgh to only three shots in the first period. Andre Burakovsky made it 2-0 in the second period. Nicklas Backstrom then further padded the lead just 16 seconds into the third. The rout was on with goals from John Carlson and Burakovsky to make it 5-0. Penguins would add to mercy tallied at the end of the game when the result was no longer in doubt.

What it means: The Caps avoided elimination for the second straight game and now return home for Game 7 with the series tied at 3. With the win, Washington avoided getting eliminated in Game 6 in Pittsburgh for the second consecutive season.

Goals

Caps goal: T.J. Oshie (power play) from Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov at 12:41 in the 1st period. Kuznetsov took the spot beneath the goal line and passed the puck to Backstrom on the boards. Backstrom retreated drawing two penalty killers with him, then passed to Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov made the quick pass to Oshie who fired the one-timer into the net. Caps 1, Penguins 0

Caps goal: Andre Burakovsky at 6:36 in the 2nd period. Ron Hainsey had trouble collecting a pass in the defensive zone and Burakovsky applied the pressure and generated the turnover. With a mini 2-on-1, Burakovsky tried to feed Oshie, but was unable to thanks to a hook form Hainsey. Instead, he took the shot himself and was able to just sneak it past the hip of Fleury. Caps 2, Penguins 0

Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom from Dmitry Orlov and T.J. Oshie at 0:16 in the 3rd period. Backstrom hopped on the neutral zone turnover then called his own number on the 2-on-1, sniping a shot right to the top corner. Caps 3, Penguins 0

Caps goal: John Carlson (power play) from Matt Niskanen and Evgeny Kuznetsov at 11:17 in the 3rd period. The Caps won a board battle down low and Kuznetsov pushed the puck back to the blue line. Niskanen fed it to Carlson who buzzed a shot right past the ear of Fleury and into the net. Caps 4, Penguins 0

Caps goal: Andre Burakovsky at 12:29 in the 3rd period. Burakovsky took the puck from the Caps zone all the way down the ice, He easily skated around a diving Chad Ruhwedel and fired the puck for the goal. Caps 5, Penguins 0

Penguins goal: Jake Guentzel from Sidney Crosby at 16:38 in the 3rd period. Crosby found rookie scoring sensation Guentzel on the 2-on-1 to ruin Braden Holtby's shutout bid. Caps 5, Penguins 1

Penguins goal: Evgeni Malkin from Conor Sheary and Bryan Dumoulin at 17:30 in the 3rd period. Busted coverage by the Caps left Malkin all alone in front of the net. Holtby made the initial save, but Malkin hit in the rebound. Caps 5, Penguins 2

3 Caps stars

1. Andre Burakovsky: How awesome does that move to the top line look now? After being held scoreless through the Caps' first 10 games of the postseason, he now has three goals in his last two games.

2. T.J. Oshie: Oshie scored his first goal of the series to give Washington the early lead. How many times this series have the Caps dictated the play and walked away with nothing to show for it? Oshie made sure that didn't happen on Monday.

3. Brooks Orpik: Orpik has taken his share of criticism in this series which is understandable, but he had his best game of the playoffs on Monday. In a first period power play with the Caps leading only 1-0, Orpik had the unenviable task of shutting down Evgeni Malkin, but he gave Malkin all he could handle to help protect the lead.

Look ahead: Game 7 will be in Washington on Wednesday.

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Capitals service dog Captain wins Sports Dog of the Year

Capitals service dog Captain wins Sports Dog of the Year

As if any other candidate would even come close, Captain was named Sports Dog of the Year on Friday afternoon.

The four-legged phenom has been everywhere this fall, making his presence felt all over the DMV, and his popularity has extended nationwide.

Captain doesn't take days off and is always ready to have some fun.

He was there to maintain the peace during the biggest shopping day of the year and he made sure your Cyber Monday gifts arrived on time. 

He inspires greatness and has been a driving force behind the Mystics' WNBA Title as well as the Nationals' World Series victory.

He knows when its time to put in the work as well. He's always on time for meetings, and he has never missed a practice.

He's preparing to assist a Veteran or First Responder one day, and he's already making progress.

And he's always ready to celebrate.

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D.C. youth coaching legend Neal Henderson gets his due with U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction

D.C. youth coaching legend Neal Henderson gets his due with U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction

WASHINGTON — For 40 years Neal Henderson has given underprivileged kids the chance to play hockey at Fort Dupont Ice Arena.

On Thursday, Henderson was honored for his life’s work with induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Henderson was inducted along with NHL greats Tim Thomas and Brian Gionta, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and U.S. Olympian Krissy Wendell. He heard kind words spoken about his program, the Fort Dupont Cannons, from the likes of Bettman, Alex Ovechkin and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and also received a video tribute. 

It’s been quite a week for Henderson, who drew a sustained ovation from the crowd at Tuesday’s Capitals-Boston Bruins game when acknowledged on the big video board at Capital One Arena. 

“It’s amazing. Something I never believed I could be a part of,” Henderson said. “It’s the zenith of my life other than being married and having a son. I’ve enjoyed what I have done. I didn’t do it for the reasons of being here. I did it for the love of kids and the parents who trusted me with their children.”  

Henderson said he “became completely numb” when he got the phone call learning he’d be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. The Cannons developmental program, based at Fort Dupont, is designed to help local underprivileged kids play an expensive sport that is out of reach for many. Fort Dupont features the oldest minority hockey league in North America. 

It’s not a route to the NHL. But Henderson has helped kids play high school and college hockey, passing on the lessons he’s learned over decades: That hard work and character matter. That education is crucial. He believes hockey helps forge those traits. The Cannons give kids a chance to travel to other cities to play games. They were an integral part of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone campaign, which seeks to broaden the sport, make it more inclusive, help better communities.

A clip showed during Ovechkin’s tribute video after being named the Wayne Gretzky International Award recipient at Thursday’s induction dinner, showed the Stanley Cup at Fort Dupont with the Cannons. That was Ovechkin’s idea, according to Leonsis.

“I asked Alex ‘Where do you want to go?’ He said ‘I want to see kids at Georgetown Cancer Center.” And we went there. And then he wanted to pay homage to Coach Neal,” Leonsis said. “And so we went to Fort Dupont. It’s great that he’s here.”

Henderson said he hoped his induction would help encourage more people of color to embrace hockey. He started the program in the late 1970s thinking he’d simply get his son through the program, which works with kids ages 8 to 18. But he just kept going – in part because kids kept coming to the Cannons and in part because he just couldn’t refuse them. Decades later he’s still here working with them. 

“A lot of people don’t feel that they have the opportunity when it’s right at their back door,” Henderson said. “If they take just one more step they’ll find that there are people out there that’s willing to help them. All you have to do is be there willing to make sure they get the chance.”

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