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Caps get swept in California, lose fourth straight

Caps get swept in California, lose fourth straight

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Anaheim Ducks 5

How it happened: After battling to a scoreless first period, the Ducks erupted for three straight goals in the second period to take control of the game. John Carlson added a tally to keep the Caps in it, but Anaheim finished them off with two more goals in the third.

What it means: The Caps have now lost four straight for the first time since Jan. 2015 and have lost four straight games in regulation for the first time since Oct.-Nov. 2014. The Pittsburgh Penguins can move ahead of Washington in the standings for first in the Metropolitan Division and for the top spot in the NHL with a win on Monday.

Goals

Ducks goal: Corey Perry, unassisted at 4:52 in the second period. Lars Eller got a bit too cute in the defensive zone and tried a soft pass from the corner that went right to Perry. Perry took it straight to the net and deked Braden Holtby for the goal. Caps 0, Ducks 1

Ducks goal: Corey Perry from Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf at 9:21 in the second period. Just moments after Holtby had to stop a 2-on-0 opportunity, the Ducks came in on the rush again and Kesler fired a wrister that Perry tipped in for his second goal of the game. Caps 0, Ducks 2

Ducks goal: Rickard Rakell from Ryan Getzlaf at 9:49 in the second period. Rakell fired a shot right off the face off that caught Holtby by surprise. Caps 0, Ducks 3

Caps goal: John Carlson (power play) from Nicklas Backstrom and Justin Williams at 12:10 in the second period. From the corner of the offensive zone, Backstrom found Carlson on the far-side at the top of the zone. The Ducks had bunched up down in the corner after the puck leaving Carlson wide open to tee up the slap shot. Caps 1, Ducks 3

Ducks goal: Ryan Getzlaf (power play) from Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry at 4:27 in the third period. Just as the Caps killed off the first penalty of a two-man advantage, Perry found Getzlaf with the sweet pass giving him a yawning net. Holtby was not able to get over in time before Getzlaf could roof the shot. Caps 1, Ducks 4

Caps goal: Marcus Johansson, unassisted at 4:57 in the third period. Johansson sent the puck to the slot looking for Kuznetsov. Instead it bounced off of Jakob Silfverberg and trickled through Bernier. Caps 2, Ducks 4

Ducks goal: Ryan Kesler from Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silverberg at 12:42 in the third period. Silfverberg lifted the stick of Matt Niskanen to allow the puck to get buy him and into the Caps' zone. Cogliano then out-hustled everyone to the puck in the corner and backhanded a pass for Kesler that he tipped into the net. Caps 2, Ducks 5

3 stars

1. Corey Perry: Perry made short work of Eller's turnover to get Anaheim on the board, then tipped in a shot by Kesler for his second. It was just the second two-goal game for Perry this season who entered Sunday's game with 12 goals.

2. Ryan Getzlaf: Getzlaf is Anaheim's version of Nicklas Backstrom. He always seems to be involved on almost every goal. Getzlaf had a very quiet three-point night with one goal and two assists.

3. Ryan Kesler: It's Kesler's job to agitate and produce. He did his job on Sunday. Kesler got under the Caps' skin even drawing a penalty from Tom Wilson in the first period as Wilson dropped the gloves, but Kesler would not oblige. He also finished with three points on the night.

Look ahead: The Caps return home for two games with Bruce Boudreau's Minnesota Wild on Tuesday and Nashville on Thursday. They then go back on the road for a Saturday game in Tampa Bay.

Tell us what you think: The Caps have los four straight, but if the team needs to make any major changes their options are limited. The trade deadline has come and gone and there are now budding superstars waiting in Hershey who can turn the team around. What do you think Washington needs to do to shake things up and break the slump?

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Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

The Capitals may not be participating in Stadium Series this year, but the team is embracing outdoor hockey around Washington for spirited game day fun.

The Caps are hosting Rock The Rink skates at The Wharf, Penatgon Row, Rockville Town Square and The Avenue at White Marsh on select game days from January to March 2020. Fans attending these events can wear Capitals jerseys or gear to get either $5 off admission or free skate rentals.

The Wharf

Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., and Feb 17. at 1 p.m.

Transit Pier will boast a Capitals-paneled ice rink with an ice resurfacer, trivia contests, giveaways, along with a DJ. The Capitals Campire will also boast Adirondack chairs around a fire to roast marshmallows for smores in front of a 14-foot jumbotron screen to watch the Capitals games. 

Pentagon Row

Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 6 p.m.

These skates will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants. The Caps games will also be on at surrounding bars. 

The Avenue at White March

Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

This event will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants.

Rockville Town Square

Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.

In addition to the above fun, Rockville native and Capitals hockey ambassador Haley Skarupa will be there on Jan. 31. You can watch the Capitals game at local bars as well. 

Fans attending these events or using local outdoor rinks this season are encouraged to post about it on social media by tagging @capitals and using the hashtag #RockTheRink to enter themselves for a chance to win prizes.

Caps slept through the first 40 minutes, they did not give Holtby much help though he was bad in his own right and Vrana sure did show something with the game-winning goal.

As for no penalties...not so much.

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

Down 4-1, the Capitals scored five goals in the third period for the incredible 6-4 comeback win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick pulling him in a tie with Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals.

Here is how the Caps won.

Ovechkin

Ovechkin was hot coming in with five goals in his past two games. He scored midway through the first period, getting a great pass in stride from Nicklas Backstrom to launch him behind the defense. Just as the defense closed in he fired a wrister past Semyon Varlamov to make it 1-0.

There is...pretty much nothing positive to say after that until the third period. There was a great 5-on-3 penalty kill, but it was essentially negated as they allowed a goal soon after. The Islanders built a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes and it looked all but over.

But after Carl Hagelin made it 4-2, Ovechkin pulled the Caps to within one, pulling the vintage back-to-front Ovechkin curl-and-drag before passing to the front where the puck deflected off the boot of Ryan Pulock and in.

After Jakub Vrana made it 5-4, Ovechkin added the empty-netter for the knockout punch.

With three goals, Ovechkin now has 34 on the season. He passed Mario Lemieux and tied Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals. Incredibly, this is the first time in his career Ovechkin has three straight multi-goal games.

Motivation

Just what exactly lit the fire under the Caps butts for that third period will probably be a talking point after the game. Was it Devon Toews doing the bird celebration after he scored to make it 4-1? Was it pulling Braden Holtby and starting Ilya Samsonov in the third period? Was it something Todd Reirden or one of the players said?

Whatever it was, it was a different Caps team that took the ice for the third period.

Hagelin's turnaround

As great as Ovechkin's performance was -- and it was epic -- it might not happen without the Carl Hagelin's early third-period tally.

The comeback was sparked by Hagelin's goal that came less than three minutes into the final frame. A great pass by Richard Panik set Hagelin up on the doorstep and he hit it home.

That goal made it 4-2 and a two-goal deficit seems a lot less daunting than a three-goal one.

Shaky Varlamov

Once Ovechkin made it 4-3, you could smell the blood in the water. Washington had gotten to Varlamov and the flood gates were open.

Dmitry Orlov took the puck up to the top of the faceoff circle and fired a slap shot that Wilson managed to get a stick to and deflected it through Varlamov to tie the game.

About three minutes later, Vrana intercepted a pass and fired a quick shot to beat Varlamov far-side for the 5-4 lead.

Varlamov faced 10 shots in the third period and allowed four goals. The fifth came on an empty net.

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