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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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Alex Ovechkin challenges Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin to shave while in isolation

Alex Ovechkin challenges Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin to shave while in isolation

While we all focus on social distancing and staying at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, this difficult time has basically given us a license to take time off from shaving. 

Don't tell that to Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin, who has seemingly started a new shaving challenge on Instagram with his wife, Nastya (music NSFW). 

As Ovechkin goes for the clean shave with Nastya dancing by his side, the caption translates to him challenging fellow Russian hockey stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. 

Neither player has considerable facial hair, but credit to Ovechkin finding another way to keep busy during isolation. Even if he's fraternizing with a Penguin. 

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With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 4

With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 4

While we wait for the NHL to hopefully resume its season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the 20 best wins of the Capitals' season so far. Mark Zaner, producer for Caps Faceoff Live and Caps Overtime Live, has watched every game. His rankings continue with No. 4, a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 16 that featured a bloodied Alex Ovechkin getting revenge against the Devils and Braden Holtby getting a fancy new hat. 

WHAT HAPPENED 

Ovechkin made his presence felt in the first period. He scored on a blistering one-timer during a 5-on-3 power play to get the Caps on the board first. Then with less than a minute remaining, after Nicklas Backstrom won an offensive zone draw, Ovechkin picked up the loose puck and fired a wrister that Louis Domingue never saw. 

  

Just 16 seconds in the second period, Ovechkin got some help. Lars Eller’s forecheck forced New Jersey into a turnover. Eller and Richard Panik eventually found Carl Hagelin in front of the net for the easy score. Hagelin’s goal came on Cory Schneider, who replaced Domingue at intermission. 

  

Despite being dead last in the Metro Division, the Devils didn’t roll over. Wayne Simmonds scored less than a minute after Hagelin’s goal. Blake Coleman scored shorthanded for his 19th of the season early in the third period to make it 3-2. 

Order was eventually restored. Jakub Vrana took advantage of a bad clearing attempt by Pavel Zacha and snuck one through Schneider. And at the 15:42 mark, the Capitals put the game away for good. Tom Wilson made one of the best passes of the season right to Ovechkin on the doorstep. Washington wins 5-2. 

  

MEMORABLE MOMENTS 

This was Ovechkin’s second hat trick of the season. It looked like it would be a rough night early on for the Captain. On one of his first shifts of the night, Ovechkin took a high stick from Miles Wood that drew blood. Ovi spent most of the period getting stitched up in the dressing room. He returned to the game just in time to score two goals in the final five minutes of the period. Don’t make Ovechkin angry, you won’t like him when he’s angry. 

  

Ilya Samsonov continued a brilliant stretch of games. He made one of the more remarkable saves of his young career. 

  

WHY IT WAS SIGNIFICANT 

Just five days earlier, the Caps hosted New Jersey and lost 5-1. It was arguably their worst game of the season. Washington didn’t take the Devils lightly in this contest and got a much needed two points with the All-Star break looming. 

Ovechkin scored career goals 687, 688 and 689. That put him one behind Mario Lemieux for 10th place on the all-time scoring list. He would jump Super Mario less than 48 hours later. 
 
WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT 

When throwing hats on the ice, fans usually just chuck cheap baseball caps and toques. This is the first time I can remember someone throwing a women’s fedora on the ice. 

  

Braden Holtby pulls off the look well. The whole incident begs the question: who wears a fedora to a hockey game? 

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