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Caps give little support to Grubauer -- again

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Caps give little support to Grubauer -- again

News, notes and quotes as the Capitals return home from a 1-1-1 road trip to Philadelphia, Colorado and Arizona and enjoy a Sunday off before the final four games of the regular season:  

No run support for Grubi: For the second straight time, Caps backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer received zero offense in a 3-0 shutout loss. Last weekend Grubauer fell 4-0 to the St. Louis Blues on the back end of a back-to-back set. Against the Coyotes, the Capitals hit two posts (one each by Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov) and saw a pair of Coyotes shots deflected past Grubauer.

“Back to back, it’s always tough the second game,” said Grubauer, who fell to 8-8-1 with the loss. “We had a hard game in Colorado and knew it was the last home game for those guys. Even going into the last period we knew they were coming hard. We had chances. It’s not like we played bad, we played great and if we keep playing the right way it’s going to be good.”

Grubauer kept the Coyotes off the board through the first two periods, making an incredible split save on Tobias Rieder with 2:38 remaining in the first period. But the Coyotes recorded the first six shots of the third period and got on the board when Shane Doan deflected a shot by Max Domi. When defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson cranked a slapshot off the stick of T.J. Oshie and past Grubauer just 27 seconds later, the Coyotes had all the momentum in their favor.

“It probably happens once every 30 games,” Grubauer said of the double deflection, which also went off the skate of a Coyote player. “It’s the first time (this season) it’s happened to me. You get those once in a while.”

Caps defenseman Karl Alzner said Ekman-Larsson’s goal changed the game.

“They played a solid game and they didn't stop," Alzner said "They finally got one to break it open on a good tip and the second one going in the way it did, it kills your mojo a little.

"After that, you hope for a team to kind of sit back, that's kind of where we usually take advantage. But they didn't sit back. We didn't have an answer for it. We didn't play great but they played a really solid game."

What the Coyotes were saying: Arizona coach Dace Tippett: “We caught a team on the back-to-back and capitalized on a chance or two and got the win.”

Max Domi: “That’s the best team in the league over there and we found a way to stay in it and (goaltender Mike Smith) was unbelievable."

Unlucky: The Caps have it seven posts in the past two games and believe luck will turn in their favor when the playoff begin next week.

"We're getting chances,” center Jay Beagle said. “It's not a matter of not getting any shots. We had Grade-A chances. We're hitting posts all over the place. We just have to keep getting those chances and eventually they will start going in."

No Backy: Center Nicklas Backstrom sat out his second straight game with an upoper body injury but Barry Trotz said he expects him back in the lineup this week when the Caps face the Islanders and Penguins at home on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  

Slow starts: Trotz was not happy with the way the Caps started any of their three periods on Saturday.

“We were sleeping in the first five minute of the game,” he said. “Second period, same thing.”

Said Andre Burakovsky: “We started a little slow in every single period.  It’s something we have to get rid of.”

RELATED: Offense struggles in Capitals' shutout road loss to Coyotes

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3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

The Capitals play their last home game of October on Friday as they host the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Here’s what you need to watch.

Dmitrij Jaskin is back in

Todd Reirden has made one adjustment to the lineup for Friday’s game, putting Dmitrij Jaskin back in on the fourth line in place of Nathan Walker. Jaskin has yet to record a point since joining the Capitals, but that has a lot to do with where he was coming from.

“This team is based on being creative and it's probably something that I missed in the last few years,” Jaskin said following Friday’s morning skate.

In St. Louis, Jaskin was coached by Mike Yeo and, before him, Ken Hitchcock. Both coaches preach a hard-nosed offensive style based more on effort and being defensively responsible than skill. Coming to a team like Washington then, a team that encourages skill and creativity on offense, is a pretty dramatic change.

Jaskin has played a very safe style since coming into the lineup. It’s good to be defensively responsible, but not if it completely chokes the life out of the offense. Jaskin is hardly generating any offense at all thus far since coming to Washington.

After a few more practices, can it finally spark some skill and creativity from Jaskin?

Can the Caps get the bottom six back on track?

The Caps have gotten only two goals in six games from their bottom six and both came in the team’s blowout opening win against Boston. The third and fourth lines generated some chances on Wednesday, but afterward, Reirden stressed that the team needed to see more production from its depth forwards.

“We've got to continue to get scoring depth wise if we want to have success in this league,” he said. “That's where everything's headed is you can't rely on your top guys to come through for you every night and we'll continue to focus on finding the right chemistry with that third and fourth line to be able to give us some added offense there as well.”

Florida could provide a good opportunity for those players to get some points on the board.

Starting goalie Roberto Luongo is out with an injury and James Reimer will get the start on Friday. In three games, Reimer has a GAA of 3.62 and save percentage of .885.

As a team, the Panthers currently rank 24th in goals against per game with 3.50.

Two teams in need of a win

Florida is still searching for its first win of the season with a 0-2-2 record. It is still early, but this is a Panthers team with playoff aspirations and you don’t want to dig yourself in too deep a hole to start or it becomes very difficult to dig out.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be playing in their final home game of October. They leave Saturday for Vancouver to kick-off a three-game Western Canada trip. They then will face the Canadiens in Montreal on Nov. 1 before finally returning home.

Washington’s next home game will not come until Nov. 3. That makes Friday’s game a big one for the Caps as they try to secure two points before hitting the road.

“It's definitely a big game,” Reirden said. “We want to build on some of the things we were able to accomplish last game. It's difficult anytime you go out west with time changes and different stuff. We know that [Florida is] going to be a desperate team that hasn't had the start that they want and they're talented so it's an important game for us to go on the road on a winning note.”

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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin had arguably the best summer of anyone.

In June, the Capitals won their first ever Stanley Cup, and in August, Ovechkin and his wife Nastya Ovechkina welcomed their first kid.

Although Ovechkin's son Sergei is only a couple months old, the public has not seen much of him. Both Nastya and Alex posted pictures on Instagram of Sergei's foot when he was born, but neither had posted anything of him since.

In honor of Sergei's two month birthday, Nastya posted a picture of the three of them, with Alex holding Sergei in his hands. 

While it is hard to see much of Sergei, this is one of the first pictures of the couple with their newborn present. 

What a happy family! 

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