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Caps feel 'excited' for Game 7 matchup in New York


Caps feel 'excited' for Game 7 matchup in New York

And so it’s come to this, Game 7. Despite taking a 3-1 lead in the series after four games, the Caps now find themselves in a win or go home situation as they head back to Madison Square Garden with the series deadlocked at three games apiece.

“Probably not the path when you are 3-1 you want to take,” head coach Barry Trotz said following Game 6. That may be the understatement of the year.

After winning Game 4 at home, the Caps found themselves on win away from advancing to the conference finals for the first time since 1998. They came within 1:41 of advancing in Game 5, but the Rangers were able to tie the game late and win it in overtime. After a lackluster start doomed the Caps in Game 6, they now face the daunting task of having to return to New York with both teams facing elimination.

Despite how they got to this point, the Caps still feel encouraged by the opportunity of needing only one win to advance over a team that was the NHL's best over the course of the season.

“Pretty excited,” Brooks Orpik said when asked how he felt about returning to New York. “Best team in the league, Presidents’ Trophy winners, chance to play them in Game 7. I think everyone’s pretty excited about it.”

Alex Ovechkin even went so far as to guarantee a Game 7 win for the Caps.

The last time these two teams met in a Game 7 was in 2013 when the Caps were on the wrong end of a 5-0 dismantling. That game was at Verizon Center. Wednesday’s will be in New York.

RELATED: Caps try to stay positive after Game 6 loss

The Caps, however, say they will draw on their past experiences to mentally prepare themselves. Even those who were not around two years ago have their own experiences to draw from.

“I play three times in playoffs in KHL and I know what it is when you lose the important game and when you play in a final and you lose the Game 7,” Evgeny Kuznetsov said. “I know [this] feeling and I know [the] feeling when you win the game. Everybody understands in our room.”

The Caps also intend to draw on their effort in the third period of Game 6 when they were able to turn a 4-1 deficit into 4-3 to spark them going forward.

“We just have to take the good part of [Game 6] and move on to the next game and play our best game of the year,” Marcus Johansson said.

“You have to stay positive and find a way [to] beat these guys,” Kuznetsov said.

They seem to be taking that message to heart as there was more positivity in the locker room following Game 6’s loss than you would expect given how they failed in two opportunities to advance and now face a Game 7 on the road.

Trotz, however, was adamant that the pressure was not on the Caps alone to win Wednesday.

“The pressure is the same on both teams, really. It is one game. Loser goes home. You can’t say there is more pressure on us than them.

"No matter what, someone is going home.”

MORE CAPITALS: Furious rally falls short as Caps lose 4-3 to Rangers in Game 6

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2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL


2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL

The Caps made seven selections in the 2018 Draft this weekend. The group featured three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie. Interestingly, a couple of the picks have fathers who enjoyed lengthy NHL careers.

Meet the newest prospects:

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.

6th round, 161st overall (from Vancouver): D Alex Kannok-Leipert, WHL, 5'11", 194 pounds

The Caps certainly saw something they liked in Kannok-Leipert as they traded up from 186 to get him. That pick, along with a sixth-round pick in 2019, went to Vancouver.

7th round, 217th overall: F Eric Florchuk, WHL, 6'2", 174 pounds

Florchuk was taken with the last pick of the draft.


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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson


GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”