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'Carlzner' pairing to reunite Wednesday in game against Boston

'Carlzner' pairing to reunite Wednesday in game against Boston

Head coach Barry Trotz has not been shy about shuffling his lineup...at least on offense. Aside from the occasional Taylor Chorney appearance, the defensive pairings have remained the same all season. That changed towards the end of Monday's game against Buffalo and it appears those new pairs will stick on Wednesday.

That, of course, means the return of 'Carlzner.'

"I don't think any of us care who we play with, but me and [John Carlson] had some pretty good years together," Karl Alzner said. "We've had a lot of good chemistry and a lot of fun playing together too. I think it'll be exciting just to give it another shot."

RELATED: Oshie set to return to Caps' lineup Wednesday

As the Caps host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, Carlson and Alzner will reunite as a defensive pair. Both players came into the NHL at about the same time and spent several seasons playing alongside one another before the additions of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik dramatically shifted the team's blue line.

Alzner began the season playing alongside Niskanen in what became an effective shutdown pair. A pair of Carlson and Dmitry Orlov, however, two of the more offensively skilled defensemen on the team, has struggled.

Carlson remains in search of his first goal of the season while Orlov is stuck on one. In an attempt to find a better compliment to their offensive skills, Trotz moved Orlov up with Niskanen and brought Alzner down to play with his former partner, thus reuniting the fan-favorite pairing.

"I think they're a good compliment," Trotz said. "I think [Alzner] is a good two-way defenseman, but his strength is probably little more, if you have to classify him, is a little more stay at home where Carly can do both, but he obviously gets up on the play and adds to the offense. We'll see how that works."

Despite playing with Niskanen for the first 24 games of the season, Alzner is not expecting it will take much to adjust to playing with Carlson again.

"We know what the plays are at all times and we all do them the same way," he said. "The only thing I'd say is just remembering the voice that you're listening for because that can be a little bit tricky. Certain guys kind of walk the line different and get themselves available in different ways and [Carlson's] definitely different that [Niskanen] in that sense.

"We've already kind of figured that out in practice. It doesn't take long."

Despite the Caps' recent struggles, Washington has played well defensively. The team currently ranks fifth in goals against per game (2.21) and sixth in shots against per game (28.2).

The decision to bring back the famed 'Carlzner' pair, however, seems to have less to do with the defense than it does with adding a spark to a team trying to get back on track after losing three of its last four.

Said Alzner, "We're all interested in just injecting some life into everything: The game right now, offensively, trying to score some more goals. If we could help each other do that, [Niskanen] and [Orlov] can help each other do that, then good."

MORE CAPITALS: 3 bold predictions: Tough Rask at hand

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

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Alex Ovechkin takes home ESPY for Best Male Athlete Award

Alexander Ovechkin's offseason continues to be one for the books. 

Just a week removed from celebrating with the Stanley Cup in Moscow, Ovechkin was named Best Male Athlete Wednesday night at the 2018 ESPYs. 

The 32-year-old is the first NHL player to win the award since it was first introduced in 1993. 

"The Great Eight" beat out Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. 

Ovechkin was not in Los Angeles to accept the award.

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Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup wasn’t even nominated for an ESPY

Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup wasn’t even nominated for an ESPY

On Wednesday night ESPN hosts their yearly sports award show, the ESPYs, to celebrate the best of the last 365 days in sport. 

One thing they will not be celebrating, or did not even consider celebrating, was Braden Holtby’s save in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final

This year there were 16 plays nominated to be the “Best Play” and were seeded into a bracket. For the past month fans have been voting in each head-to-head matchup culminating in four pretty outstanding plays:

All of those plays can be viewed here

Three of those four were in a championship game, the other was a just a once in a lifetime play from a teenager. 

But the ESPYs are saying that there are 16 plays from this past year that were better than Holtby’s save… Can we really believe that? Everyone loves buzzer beaters, but they accounted for six of the 16 plays. One of them could have easily gotten bumped. 

And aside from the three listed above there were only two that were in the championship event for each sport. Holtby could have rounded it out for six.

We’re not saying that Holtby’s play was the best in the past year, or even in the top four. Heck, there should be no one that tops Ogunbowale’s incredible heroics. But arguably the best play in D.C. sports history not making the top-16 for best plays in a 365 day period? 

It must have been one heck of a sports year.  

For those that are nominated, Alex Ovechkin is a finalist for Best Male Athlete and Best NHL Player. The Capitals are in the running for Best Team.

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