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Caps-Rangers Game 4 Notebook

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Caps-Rangers Game 4 Notebook

News and notes as the Capitals and Rangers prepare for their 12:30 p.m. battle on NBC. The Ranger lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals two games to one.

Kentucky Derby factor: An NBC source told CSNWashington.com that if today's game goes into overtime -- five of the Capitals' 10 playoff games have -- the network has the leeway to broadcast two full ovetime peruiods before, if necessary, breaking away to Kentucky Derby coverage.

Following OT: Since the 2010 playoffs, the Capitals have gone 6-3 in games following overtime contests. In those nine games, the Capitals own a 3-1 record following overtime defeats. Washington has gone 2-0 following overtime losses during these playoffs.

Marathon night: For the Capitals, Wednesdays Game 3 was their third-longest Stanley Cup playoff contest in franchise history (114:41) and their longest since a quadruple overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1996. The thriple overtime game was the longest NHL contest since 2008. Wednesday marked the fifth overtime game the Caps have played during these playoffs, the second-highest mark in a single postseason in franchise history. The Capitals played seven overtime contests during their 1998 Stanley Cup run.

26 and counting: Braden Holtby stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in Game 2 for his fifth career playoff win. Holtby has now gone 26 straight starts in the NHL including 10 in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs without suffering back-to-back setbacks. Holtby has gone 4-0 with a 1.13 goals-against average and a .966 save percentage in games following a loss during these playoffs.

Scoring first: The Capitals are 5-1 during the playoffs when scoring the games first goal, the fifth-highest winning percentage (.833) when scoring first. Teams are 40-21 this postseason when scoring first. Alexander Semin has scored the games first goal twice this postseason.

Shot blockers: Washington ranks second in the NHL in blocked shots (218) and leads the league in takeaways (85) during the playoffs. Four Caps defensemen rank in the top-10 for blocked shots (Carlson-fourth, 27; Hamrlik and Alzner-tied for fifth, 26; Green-tied for 10th, 20). Five Capitals forwards rank in the top-10 in blocked shots by forward skaters. Brooks Laich leads the Caps and is second among NHL forwards in blocked shots (17) while Nicklas Backstrom ranks fifth (13), Jay Beagle ranks tied for sixth (12), Troy Brouwer ranks eighth (11) and Matt Hendricks ranks ninth (10).

Heavy hitters: The Capitals rank second in the NHL in hits during the playoffs (356). Two Capitals rank in the top-3 among hits leaders in the NHL this postseason. Matt Hendricks ranks second (49) while Alex Ovechkin ranks third (45).

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Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

Believe it or not, this isn't the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup

In what is perhaps the most unexpected Stanley Cup Final pairing in recent memory, the Washington Capitals and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are going to make history this year.

Either it is going to be the first expansion team to win a title in their first season, or it will be a team looking to end a 27-year title drought for one of the biggest cities in the United States.

But what it will not be is the first D.C. vs. Vegas postseason matchup.

Going even farther back than the Capitals last Stanley Cup appearance (1998), the Georgetown Hoyas and UNLV Rebels met in the 1991 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Sin City took the first, and up until now, the only postseason bout between these two cities. The Larry Johnson-led University of Las Vegas squad powered right past the Hoyas in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

[D.C. sports and Second Rounds, I know right?]

Coming fresh off the NCAA title in 1990, UNLV waltzed right to the Final Four before meeting their demise against Duke. It also ended up being the last game for Dikembe Mutombo in a Georgetown uniform.

While in all likely-hood this will not be the final game/ series for Alex Ovechkin rocking the red, it may be his last and only chance for him to play this far into a postseason.

In the past two seasons, Vegas has gone from zero professional teams to having a Stanley Cup contender, a WNBA franchise, and lined up to take over the Oakland Raiders in 2020. 

Now time for the Golden Knights' Cinderella story to come up a little bit short. 

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Capitals listed as underdogs in their first Stanley Cup since 1998

Capitals listed as underdogs in their first Stanley Cup since 1998

The odds have never gone the way of the Washington Capitals.

After years of being the common pick to finally break through and win the Stanley Cup, this was most definitely not the year.

Yet, here we are with the Capitals as one of the final two teams standing.

For their upcoming Stanley Cup Final, the Caps are the underdogs against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.  The opening line from OddsShark has the Golden Knights as -135 money line favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Capitals were listed as +115 underdogs.

Vegas (the betting entity, not the team) has not exactly been the most reliable this year though. After all, the Golden Knights were 100/1 odds to win the whole thing. Now they are four games away.

In their past two series, Washington was not the favorites. The Capitals have not been favorites since the First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

For years in the Alex Ovechkin era, they have been the favorites to not only go on to play for the Stanley Cup but winning it.

In 2018 they started the season tied for the fifth best odds to win the Cup (14/1), one of their lowest opening marks in the past decade. For the full perspective, Washington was tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs and behind the Dallas Stars at the start of the season.

Without question this underdog role has fit them quite well, they shouldn’t want anything to change heading into the biggest postseason series in 20 years for Washington D.C.

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