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Caps take stranglehold of the division with physical win over Columbus

Caps take stranglehold of the division with physical win over Columbus

Final score: Washington Capitals 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2

How it happened: After a scoreless first period, T.J. Oshie and Andre Burakovsky scored 1:44 apart in early in the second to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. Matt Niskanen would add a third goal later in the period to give Washington a commanding lead through 40 minutes. Jack Johnson scored a beauty in the third to put some life into Columbus. Then the fisticuffs happened. After taking a few rabbit punches from Josh Anderson, Alex Ovechkin threw a few punches of his own and line brawl broke out. Kyle Quincey scored to pull Columbus within one with just under five minutes remaining, but Washington held on for the 3-2 win.

What it means: The win gives Washington a five-point lead in the Metropolitan Division over Pittsburgh and a six-point lead over Columbus. All three teams have four games remaining.

Goals

Caps goal: T.J. Oshie from Nicklas Backstrom at 1:12 in the 1st period. A long breakout pass from Backstrom went deep into Columbus’ zone. Oshie retrieved it from the right circle then cut inside and backhanded the shot past Bobrovsky. Caps 1, Blue Jackets 0

Caps goal: Andre Burakovsky from Lars Eller and Kevin Shattenkirk at 2:56 in the 2nd period. Eller entered the zone with the puck, but was forced to the outside. He took the puck around behind the net then pulled off a sweet little spin-around pass to Burakovsky who hit the top corner or the net. Caps 2, Blue Jackets 0

Caps goal: Matt Niskanen from Andre Burakovsky at 10:05 in the 2nd period. Burakovsky intercepted a pass from the point in the defensive zone and it was off to the races. Niskanen jumped into the play and received the great pass from Burakovsky and was able to shoot it home. Caps 3, Blue Jackets 0

Blue Jackets goal: Jack Johnson from Alexander Wennberg and Sam Gagner at 9:22 in the 3rd period. Johnson scored a highlight reel goal to get Columbus on the board. As he carried the puck into the offensive zone he easily deked John Carlson, then pulled off a curl and drag past Tom Wilson before beating Holtby down low with the shot. Caps 3, Blue Jackets 1

Blue Jackets goal: Kyle Quincey from Sam Gagner and Brandon Saad at 15:33 in the 3rd period. Saad kicked the puck up to the point and Quincey fired a slap shot that took a couple of bounces on its way into the back of the net. Caps 3, Blue Jackets 2

3 stars

1. Braden Holtby: In a battle between two of the top netminders in the NHL, Holtby stole the show. He turned aside 34 shots including one with just three seconds remaining to hold on to the one-goal lead.

2. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky scored Washington's second goal to give the Caps control of the game in the second period. He also set up the third goal with a great steal and a great pass to find the open Niskanen.

3. Jack Johnson: Give him credit, that was a beautiful goal and it breathed life into a Blue Jackets team that looked defeated at that point.

Look ahead: The Caps wrap up their five-game road trip on Tuesday in Toronto. They then return home on Wednesday to host the New York Rangers and wrap-up the regular season with another back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday in Boston and then at home against Florida.

Tell us what you think: With the win, the magic number for Washington to clinch the Metropolitan Division is four. Did this win seal the deal for the Caps or will Pittsburgh and Columbus continue to challenge Washington?

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T.J. Oshie likes his chances if given the opportunity to hit a penalty shot to win the Stanley Cup

T.J. Oshie likes his chances if given the opportunity to hit a penalty shot to win the Stanley Cup

T..J Oshie has some experience in clutch moments when the game is on the line and his name is called.

Thursday, his name wasn't listed in a hypothetical poll on Twitter on which player fans would want to take the final shot if the Stanley Cup was on the line. A shocking omission of one of the most legendary shootout players of all-time.

Even with options such as Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Patrick Kane, No. 77 insinuated he had a different player in mind.

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Oshie single-handedly defeated Russia at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi over six years ago.

Six times Oshie was sent to the ice in a shootout in a preliminary round match against Russia. He answered the bell four times for another legendary U.S. win over Russia.

Oshie has the fourth-most shootout goals (45) in NHL history, only trailing Kane, (47), Frans Nielsen (49), and Jonathan Toews (50).

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Alex Ovechkin among players contributing to CCM Hockey's donation of surgical masks

Alex Ovechkin among players contributing to CCM Hockey's donation of surgical masks

With surgical masks in short supply because of the coronavirus pandemic, different companies are stepping up to provide masks to the people who need them the most, the healthcare workers. CCM Hockey is among those companies and announced on Wednesday that they will be donating 500,000 surgical masks to healthcare workers.

Several NHL stars are contributing to the donation including Alex Ovechkin.

“By teaming up with our roster of CCM athletes, we will be able to play a role in the collaborative effort to get past this crisis,” CCM CEO Rick Blackshaw said in a statement on their website. “We focused on the best use of our network and our resources to have the quickest impact. Sourcing greatly needed equipment through our established supply chain partners in Asia is the most efficient way for us to support and keep our real heroes safe."

Ovechkin is listed among the players who contributed to the CCM donation.

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The other players listed are Mat Barzal, Patrice Bergeron, Brock Boeser, Dani Cameranesi, Brandon Carlo, Thomas Chabot, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Sidney Crosby, Melodie Daoust, Alex Debrincat, Brianna Decker, Matt Duchene, Matt Dumba, Marc-Andre Fleury, Filip Forsberg, Jake Gardiner, Miro Heiskanen, Filip Hronek, Jonathan Huberdeau, Seth Jones, Nathan Mackinnon, Charlie McAvoy, Connor McDavid, Artemi Panarin, Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, and John Tavares.

“The CCM Pros are men and women of action," Blackshaw said. "It troubles them to feel helpless as they witness the devastating effects of this pandemic. At the core of this great sport, hockey is about courage, commitment to a higher goal, as well as to one another. It is exactly these player qualities and beliefs that will allow us to emerge stronger from this challenge.”

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