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Caps survive slugfest with Flyers to extend home win streak

Caps survive slugfest with Flyers to extend home win streak

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1

How it happened: Both teams battled to a scoreless tie through 40 minutes. The Flyers looked like they had taken control with a goal from Sean Couturier less than two minutes into the final period, but Dmitry Orlov answered right back just 1:21 later to tie it at 1. A Michael Del Zotto penalty in overtime proved to be Philadelphia's breaking point as Nicklas Backstrom netted the game-winner.

What it means: The Caps extended their franchise record home win streak to 15 games and their home point streak to 17. They have not lost at Verizon Center in 2017. Washington finished the regular season series against the Flyers with a 3-0-1 record.

Goals

Flyers goal: Sean Couturier from matt read and nick cousins at 1:19 in the third period. A Caps turnover in the offensive zone turned into a rush the other way for the Flyers with Couturier deflecting finishing off a tic-tac-toe play with a deflection to the top shelf. Caps 0, Flyers 1

Caps goal: Dmitry Orlov from Matt Niskanen at 2:40 in the third period. Niskanen forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Orlov pounced, carrying the puck past the blue line and unleashing a monster slap shot to beat Mason. Caps 1, Flyers 1

Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom (power play) from Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Ovechkin at 3:25 in overtime. Caps 2, Flyers 1

3 Stars

1. Tom Wilson: These are the kind of games Wilson was made for. Against a team full of irritants, Wilson doled out about as much as the Flyers gave. He was laying out hits (nine for the game) and drew the crowd to its feet after blocking a slap shot off his backside. He also had some great offensive opportunities, sliding the puck through the legs of Steve Mason and wide of the net at one point in the second period.

2. Braden Holtby: The Flyers are a team that likes getting traffic in front of the net. Holtby had to battle a lot of traffic to make his 30 saves on Saturday, but it didn’t seem to affect him at all. Holtby looked smooth in net despite all the pressure from the Flyers.

3. Steve Mason: Mason's career has been plagued by inconsistency, but when he's on, he's on. On Saturday, he was on saving 22 of the 24 shots he saved including a phenomenal save on T.J. Oshie in overtime that hit off his mask.

Look ahead: The Caps finish their three-game home stand on Monday as they host the Dallas Stars. Then it’s off to the west coast for the California road trip where the Caps will visit the Sharks, Kings and Ducks starting on Thursday in San Jose.

Tell us what you think:  Finding goals has not been a problem for Washington on their home win streak. Wins of 5-0, 6-0 were frequent. The last two games at Verizon Center, however, the Caps were held scoreless through the first two periods of the game and managed only three goals combined. Are you worried about the offense?

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NHL to move to Phase 2 of return to play plan by June 8

NHL to move to Phase 2 of return to play plan by June 8

The NHL will transition to Phase 2 of its return to play plan, the reopening of team facilities for training activities, on June 8, the league announced Thursday.

Since the season was paused on March 12, the league has considered itself to be in Phase 1 of the plan, meaning self-isolation. While the NHL and NHLPA have made progress off the ice towards a return to play negotiating things such as the playoff format, throughout all those talks the league still remained in Phase 1. This is the first concrete step the NHL has taken towards an eventual return to the ice.

"Beginning June 8 – subject to each Club’s satisfaction of all of the requirements set out in the Phase 2 Protocol – Clubs will be permitted to reopen their training facilities in their home city to allow players to participate in individualized training activities (off-ice and on-ice)," a statement released by the NHL said. "Players will be participating on a voluntary basis and will be scheduled to small groups (i.e., a maximum of six Players at any one time, plus a limited number of Club staff). The various measures set out in the Phase 2 Protocol are intended to provide players with a safe and controlled environment in which to resume their conditioning."

As the statement notes, participation in Phase 2 activities are voluntary and will be limited to six players at a time. The Capitals have not yet set a date for the team's start of Phase 2.

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Phase 3 of the plan is training camp and, despite Thursday's announcement, we remain far off from that point. According to Pierre LeBrun, the earliest the league would start camps is July 10. Phase 4 is then the resumption of the season.

Presumably, Phase 3 will not start without a date set for when Phase 4. It is hard to believe the NHLPA would agree to an indefinite training camp. Phase 2, however, can begin without any formalized dates for Phases 3 and 4.  So while this is certainly a step towards the return of hockey and a sign that things are improving, all the difficult deciions regarding health and safety protocols as well as a timeline for the eventual 2020 postseason are still yet to be decided.

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Pittsburgh Penguins announce unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19

Pittsburgh Penguins announce unnamed player tested positive for COVID-19

An unnamed player on the Pittsburgh Penguins has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the team announced on Thursday.

"This player is not in Pittsburgh and has been in isolation at home since first experiencing symptoms," the statement said. "He is recovered and feeling well. Those in close contact with the player leading up to the diagnosis have been notified." 

The organization stated that there would be no further updates on the player or situation at this time. 

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The Penguins are one of the 24 teams that will participate in the NHL's new playoff format once the season resumes. As of now, training camp for teams will not begin until July 10 at the earliest and there is still no clear timetable for when games will begin.

This announcement does bring up the question as to what the league will do if a positive diagnosis happens once play starts up again. Though NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly has stated that he doesn't believe one positive test will halt the entire postseason, a plan will need to be put in place for how to handle a player contracting coronavirus.

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