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Caps score 6 unanswered goals to crush the Canes

Caps score 6 unanswered goals to crush the Canes

The Carolina Hurricanes struck first, but the Washington Capitals responded with six unanswered goals including two from Dmitry Orlov in a 6-1 win on Monday.

How it happened: Jordan Staal put Carolina up early with a power play goal, but it was all downhill from there for the Hurricanes. Dmitry Orlov took a slap shot that deflected off the stick of Staal and into the net to tie the game. The Caps were in the face of Carolina goalie Cam Ward the rest of the night and he struggled against the screen. A long-range wrister from Justin Williams found the back of the net thanks to a screen from Marcus Johansson and Orlov scored his second of the game in the second period with Lars Eller right in Ward's face. Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller all would tack onto the lead.

What it means: The Capitals extended their point streak to 14 games and earned their 12th win in 13 games. It is their first regulation win over Carolina in three games this season and improves their record within the Metropolitan Division to 9-5-5. The win also gives Washington a two-point lead over Columbus for the top of the division.

Hosting dads: The Caps just wrapped up their mentor’s trip, but there were still plenty of dads on hand as the Hurricanes brought theirs. This was the third time this season the Washington played host to another team’s dads’ trip. The other two teams were the New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Caps are now 2-0-1 with the other team’s dads in attendance.

Rough start: Coming into Monday’s game, the Caps had scored first in 10 consecutive games, the last four of which came off the stick of Andre Burakovsky. That streak came to an end as Staal scored just 4:39 into the game. Washington responded nicely, however, as they led 2-1 at the end of the first period. When leading after the first, the Caps are now 21-2-3 this season.

Restoring power: Washington finished the game with one power play goal on two opportunities. The Caps have struggled on the power play for much of the season, but they seem to be turning things around. With Orlov's goal Monday, Washington now has at least one power play goal in five straight games and in eight of their last 11. The Caps have scored nine power play goals in the last eight games.

Hockey smile: If you play hockey long enough, you're bound to lose some teeth. Burakovsky nearly did on Monday. In the first period, Andre Burakovsky fell to the ice while skating with the puck. Defenseman Noah Hanifin tried to sweep check the puck, but his stick connected with the face of the falling Burakovsky. You can see the play here. He was later seen bleeding and handing a folded piece of gauze to the training staff so it was speculated that he had perhaps lost a tooth. He later told Al Koken that the grill was fine and he had just suffered a cut in the mouth.

Big guns: Washington's offense just keeps right on rolling. The Caps have now scored at least four goals in eight straight games. It is also the fourth time in the past six games Washington has scored at least six goals.

Until we meet again: Washington and Carolina will meet again on Tuesday, Feb. 7. That game will also be at Verizon Center.

Look ahead: The Caps have a quick turnaround with a game in Ottawa on Tuesday. They will then play the Devils in New Jersey on Thursday in the final game before the All-Star break.

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Capitals prospect report: Hershey climbs into a playoff spot with a 15-game point streak

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@TheHersheyBears

Capitals prospect report: Hershey climbs into a playoff spot with a 15-game point streak

For much of the season, it did not look like the Hershey Bears were going anywhere. In mid-January, they sat with a 15-20-0-2 record and the playoffs all but out of the question. If they had any hope of reaching the postseason, they would need to make a serious push.

Fifteen games later, the Bears have completely resurrected their season and sit in third place in the Atlantic Division.

Hershey needed to make a serious run and they did just that with points in 15 straight games going 14-0-0-1 over that stretch. This run ties the longest streak in franchise history set by the 1942-43 Bears who went 11-0-4.

Even with their 15-game streak, however, Hershey still has more work to do to reach the playoffs. The AHL playoff format is similar to the NHL’s, but with no wild card. The top four teams from each division make the playoffs with no cross over.

Hershey’s early struggles really put them back in the playoff race. Even with a 15-game point streak, they still trail first place Charlotte and second place Bridgeport by 14 and six points, respectively. The Bears sit tied with Providence for third place with 61 points while Lehigh Valley sits in fifth place with 60 and rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is not too far behind with 57.

Hershey must find a way to hang on to third or fourth place, but they still have 24 games remaining in the season including three against Providence, one against Lehigh Valley and two against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Bears have earned their spot in the playoffs as of today, but the playoffs don’t start today. If they hope to stay in playoff position, it will mean beating the teams chasing them in the standings.

Hershey will look to extend their point streak to a franchise record 16th game on Friday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Other prospect notes:

  • One major reason for Hershey’s turnaround has been the improved play of goalie Ilya Samsonov. After a 5-10-0-0 start to the season, his numbers were atrocious with a 3.88 GAA and .863 save percentage. Once the calendar changed to 2019, however, he has been lights out with an 8-1-0-1 record, 1.49 GAA and .937 save percentage. The transition to North America seems to be going just fine.
  • Beck Malenstyn has also played a major role in the Bears’ turnaround. In his first professional season, Malenstyn has only 12 points, but eight of those points have come in 2019. Two of those points came Sunday as he scored twice in the win over Lehigh Valley. It was his first professional multi-goal and multi-point game. He seems to be someone who is starting to figure things out in the AHL.
  • Aaron Ness (seven assists) and Jayson Megna (three goals, two assists) both have five-game point streaks. Mike Sgarbossa (two goals, two assists) sits right behind them with a four-game point streak. Ness is tied for fourth in the league with 35 assists. That’s not fourth among defensemen, that’s fourth in the entire AHL.
  • It appears Mathias Bau’s 2018-19 season may be over without playing a single game. He suffered an injury prior to the season that has kept him out of action and it appears the injury is serious enough that he will not be able to play at all. A Hershey team official confirmed to NBC Sports Washington that Bau has returned to his native Denmark to continue his recovery and remains out indefinitely. Though I could not get confirmation on the specific nature of the injury, the Danish National team announced in July that he had suffered some broken ribs and tear in his spleen. The Danish team announcement was found by the blog Chocolate Hockey.
  • Defenseman Colby Williams has not played since Jan. 6 and remains week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
  • It seems safe to say this season has not gone the way Axel Jonsson-Fjallby had hoped, either in Hershey or in Sweden. Since his return to his home country, Jonsson-Fjallby has no goals and seven assists in 27 games with his SHL team. His struggles have earned him a demotion to healthy scratch. Nova Caps has more.
  • Eric Florchuk earned first star honors on Friday as he led Saskatoon to an 8-3 win over Kootenay in the WHL. Florchuk scored two goals and one assist on the night.

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Capitals at Maple Leafs: Time, TV Channel, Live

Capitals at Maple Leafs: Time, TV Channel, Live

The Washington Capitals headed up north to face the Maple Leafs on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. The Caps are second in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 33-20-7, while the Maple Leafs fourth in the Atlantic Division with a record of 36-19-4. This season, the Capitals lost to the Maple Leafs 4-2 in October

The Maple Leafs are hoping to end their two-game losing streak during Thursday evening’s game.

Here is everything you need to know about Thursday’s game, which will begin at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 61 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada
When: Thursday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Capitals at Maple Leafs game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Maple Leafs on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Capitals at Maple Leafs
9:30 P.M.: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 P.M.: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
T.J. Oshie -- upper body as of Feb. 18

Maple Leafs: 
Nazem Kadri -- concussion as of Feb. 18
Nathan Horton -- back injury as of Sept. 16

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jakub Vrana, C, Capitals (18 goals, 19 assists, 37 points): Vrana has been “flying recently,” NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Reagan wrote in Wednesday’s Capitals mailbag. He’s consistently had one assist per game, contributing to the Caps’ on-and-off wins throughout February. 

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (42 goals, 27 assists, 69 points): Ovi scored two power play goals on Monday against the Los Angeles Kings. Additionally, the team captain scored twice in 20 seconds, Reagan wrote following the game. The last time the Caps played the Leafs, however, Toronto blocked seven of Ovi’s shots and 12 from other Capitals, Reagan wrote. 

CAPITALS vs. MAPLE LEAFS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 152
All-Time Series Record: Capitals lead 77-65-10
Last Meeting: Toronto won 4-2 (10/13/18)

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