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Caps extend win streak after shootout win in Carolina

Caps extend win streak after shootout win in Carolina

A back and forth contest ended in a 4-3 shootout win for the Caps over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

How it happened: Jeff Skinner put Carolina on the board less than six minutes into the game as he positioned himself in behind Matt Niskanen and right in front of Philipp Grubauer. Derek Ryan got him the puck and he was able to tip it in. Alex Ovechkin responded in the second period with a beautiful snapshot to beat Cam Ward after John Carlson launched the quick breakout to Nicklas Backstrom. A Justin Williams deflection gave the Caps the lead later in the second, but Justin Faulk tied the game just 2:18 later to finish off a 2-on-1 off a bad turnover from Backstrom.

Backstrom took an early holding call in the third period and Teuvo Teravainen took advantage with a deflection through the five-hole of Grubauer. T.J. Oshie would tie it up to force overtime as he deflected down a shot from Dmitry Orlov past Ward.

The game would go on to a shootout where Oshie, Mr. Automatic, and Evgeny Kuznetsov would both score to give the Caps the win.

What it means: The win extends the Caps' win streak to six games, their longest streak of the season. Washington is now 4-5-2 within the Metropolitan Division. They are now 17-0-0 when scoring three or more goals this season.

Turning point: Carolina was not setting on their heels playing prevent defense after taking the 3-2 lead in the third period. They were in control of the play and taking it to Washington. That all changed with Oshie's goal, his 10th of the season oand second since returning from a shoulder injury five games ago.

Power play points: The Hurricanes came into Friday’s game with the top-ranked penalty kill in the NHL at 92.3 percent. They had not allowed a power play goal in the month of December, a stretch of seven games. The Caps ended that streak on Friday with Ovechkin's second-period tally. Washington scored one goal on their two opportunities of the game. Carolina, meanwhile, went 1 for 6 on the man advantage. The one goal proved crucial as it gave Carolina the lead in the third period.

More help for Grubauer: Grubauer has posted a 5-1-1 record this season. Both regulation losses have come in Carolina. The last time these two teams met was Nov. 12 and Grubauer was held out to dry as Washington allowed 38 shots and fell 5-1. Friday's game did not start much better. Grubauer saved 27 of the 30 shots he faced on the night and kept the game within reach for the Caps early after a sleepy start from Washington. He also stood tall in his first shootout of the season, without allowing either of Carolina's opportunities to beat him.

Hot streaks: Kuznetsov extended his point streak to six games with an assist. In that stretch, he has eight points after managing only nine points in the first 23 games of the season. Ovechkin's goal was his second in three games. This after a seven-game goal drought. Williams has also put his offensive drought behind him with yet another goal. He is the team's hottest scorer with five goals in his past five games.

Look ahead: The Caps have a quick turnaround as they host the Montreal Canadiens Saturday at Verizon Center. Then they take their first trip to Philadelphia to face the red-hot Flyers on Wednesday and return home to host Tampa Bay in the last game before the winter break.

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Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

LAS VEGAS—Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom weren’t expecting to lose their head coach less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup.

But business is business, Ovi said, and Barry Trotz is handling his by attempting to capitalize on claiming the championship.

“It’s sad,” Ovechkin said on the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he accepted his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy on Wednesday night. “Obviously, we won together.”

The Caps’ captain also thanked Trotz for directing him—and his teammates—to new heights.  

“First of all, [I want to] thank him for a great job to be our coach, to be our dad, to give us a chance to win,” Ovechkin said. “But then again, it’s a business. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine and I wish him luck.”

Backstrom, meanwhile, said he was caught off guard by Trotz’s decision to step down over a contract stalemate with the team. Trotz asked for $5 million per for five seasons; the Caps balked over the terms Trotz’s camp sought.   

“I was a little surprised, obviously,” Backstrom said. “I heard the scenario.”

Like Ovechkin, though, Backstrom praised the job Trotz did during his four-year tenure.

“He’s done a great job in Washington,” Backstrom said. “We obviously have him to thank for a lot. He’s done a tremendous job of schooling us and winning a championship. No one is going to take that away from him.”

Trotz’s next move is unclear, but he’s a free agent and currently eligible to negotiate with any team. The Islanders are the only team with an opening for a head coach.

As for Washington, GM Brian MacLellan said that associate coach Todd Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz.

Ovechkin said he thinks Reirden would be a good fit.

“We all respect Todd,” Ovechkin said. “We all like him. Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”


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A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

Daniel Duffy on Twitter/@RealArtOfWords

A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

How do you make a photo of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time even more memorable?

You make it out of all the Capitals' game scores this year, of course.

Capitals fan and artist Daniel Duffy (@RealArtOfWords) posted a phenomenal finished piece commemorating the Cup win on Wednesday, June 20. It's a little meta and astounding to look at, but very fun to try and read. If you want to relive the glory that was the parts of the 2017-18 Capitals season, check out the piece.

The piece, which appears to be done in a traditional medium like pen or marker, holds the team faced, arena played at, and final score of every game. It uses six colors and over sixty lines of text. Ovechkin roars as he holds the Stanley Cup overhead, the white away jersey shaded with bits of grey text. It takes a skilled eye to sort text and colors into shapes and shading, but Daniel did a fantastic job! It's awesome to see a fanbase create different interpretations of iconic moments. We'll surely see more of Ovechkin in this moment.

Just as we thought we were going to get tired of the celebration, fans find new ways to surprise us. Stay creative, Caps fans!