Capitals

Quick Links

Caps snap losing streak behind Marcus Johansson's two goals

Caps snap losing streak behind Marcus Johansson's two goals

Marcus Johansson scored the game-tying and game-winner to lead the Caps to the 3-2 overtime win over the Buffalos Sabres on Monday.

How it happened: Zemgus Girgensons gave Buffalo the early lead thanks to a nice pace from Derek Grant. Rasmus Ristolainen swatted the puck out of the defensive zone to Grant who saw Girgensons turn on the jets on the far side. Grant found him with the one touch pass to launch him in on net. Girgensons finished the play with a nice forehand-backhand move to beat Braden Holtby.

The Caps pulled even in the second period on Jay Beagle's fifth goal of the season. Daniel Winnik kicked the puck out to Brooks Orpik who sent a pass right to the tape of Beagle in front of the net and he tipped the puck past the helpless Robin Lehner. The tie lasted exactly 10 minutes as William Carrier found Ryan O'Reilly all alone in the slot. It took three shots to get it past Holtby, but Kyle Okposo finally put it into the back of the net.

In the third period, the power play finally registered for the Caps as Marcus Johansson deflected a point shot from John Carlson to tie the game at 2. Johansson struck again in overtime with a blistering one-timer to finish off the game.

What it means: The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Washington as the Caps avoid their first four-game skid since January 2015. Washington is now 5-1-1 against the Atlantic Division this season.

Missed turning point: The turning point of the game came in the second period. With the score tied at one, a scrum broke out in front of the Caps' with the puck loose in the slot. The puck finally squirted past Holtby...and stopped right on the red line. Just 28 seconds later, Johan Larsson scored to give Buffalo the lead, but Barry Trotz challenged that the play was offside and won. The Caps were handed two lifelines in a matter of seconds, but it was not the momentum swing you would expect. Instead of taking advantage, Okposo scored the go-ahead goal 39 seconds later.

Slow start: At the start of the season, the Caps emphasized fast starts. In their first 20 games, they gave up the first goal only three times. With Girgensons' goal Monday, the Caps have now given up the first goal in each of their last four games..

Power on: Buffalo entered Monday's game with the 29th penalty kill in the NHL with only a 77.2-percent success rate. They also played without four of their regular defensemen as Taylor Fedun, Josh Gorges, Zach Bogosian and Dmitry Kulikov all were scratched due to injury. And yet, the Caps' power play still could not produce with two first period chances. Washington finally struck when it mattered, however, as Johansson scored the game-tying goal on the team's third power play of the night.

Breaking the law: Alex Ovechkin was whistled in the second period for slashing, his fifth minor penalty in three games. He leads the team with 11 on the season. Not what you want to see from your top offensive player and the team captain.

Look ahead: The Caps host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday before heading to Buffalo to face the Sabres yet again on Friday.

MORE CAPS: Jay Beagle ties it up for Caps against Sabres

Quick Links

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS:

Quick Links

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

las_vegas-sign-no_caps-stanley_cup_final.jpg
Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

MORE CAPITALS PLAYOFF NEWS: