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Game 4 proved to be quote-worthy for the Caps


Game 4 proved to be quote-worthy for the Caps

News, notes and quotes as the Capitals reflect on Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over the New York Rangers, which moved them within one victory of clinching a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1998:

What the Caps are saying: “It’s going to be a very hard game. It’s why we play, to challenge ourselves against the best and they’ve been the best all year. We’ll try to let this game go quickly and prepare for what we’re expecting as the hardest game of the year.” – Caps goalie Braden Holtby.

What the Rangers are saying: “It’s definitely not over yet. Our group knows that and we’ll continue to lay it all on the line here.” – Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

Penalty shot breakdown: With 8:01 gone in the third period and the Caps clinging to their 2-1 lead, Rangers left wing Carl Hagelin broke free on Holtby, forcing Caps defenseman Mike Green to haul him down for a penalty shot.

“We got caught a little flat-footed staring at the play,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz. “Hagelin got through there and you’ve got to take that [penalty]. We had a lot of confidence in Braden there. You talk about making saves at key moments in a game or in a series and we’ve been getting that.”

With a chance to tie the game, Hagelin weaved in on Holtby and went forehand to backhand. But Holtby stayed with him and snatched Hagelin's backhander with his catching glove.

“You’re going in there thinking you’re going to score,” Hagelin said. “I wanted to fake shot and then bring it to my backhand and he was in the split there and he made a good save.”

Said Holtby: “I was trying to be patient. He’s a fast guy so I thought he would try to use his speed somehow. You just try not to think too much, just react.”

Scrum-ptious: Tempers flared in the third period when Rangers forward James Sheppard shoved Caps defenseman Tim Gleason into the goal post, then Tanner Glass bloodied Gleason in a one-sided fight. Before the ice shavings settled, Mike Green was in the box with a roughing penalty, Derick Brassard was called for slashing and Tom Wilson was slapped with a 10-minute misconduct for …

“Honestly, I didn’t say much,” Wilson said. “I gave [Keith Yandle] a couple shoves and he gave me a pretty good one in the face. I’ll let the ref do his job and I’ll do mine. At the end of the day we won the game and I’ll put that one in the rear view.”

Look ahead: The Capitals will meet at Kettler Capitals Iceplex but are not scheduled to practice. They will head to New York following team meetings for Friday’s Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.

[RELATED Burakovsky's two goals lift Capitals to Game 4 win

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It's not crazy to think Tom Wilson can score 20 goals

NBC Sports Washington

It's not crazy to think Tom Wilson can score 20 goals

When you play on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, your offense is going to jump. That’s exactly what happened with Tom Wilson who set career highs in goals (14), assists (21) and points (35) last season.

But it wasn’t just because of his linemates.

Wilson proved to be a productive wing on the top line, working in the dirty areas and winning board battles to generate more offense. He also provides balance on the top line in the defensive zone.

The Capitals signed Wilson to a six-year deal worth $31 million in the offseason. That’s not the kind of deal you sign to a fourth line goon. Clearly, expectations are high for Wilson to produce.

But can he reach the 20-goal mark?

While most people know Wilson more for his hits, don’t forget that he was a first-round draft pick of the Caps in 2012. He is a player with a lot of offensive skill and, at 24 years old, there’s still plenty of upside.

Wilson did not enter the 2017-18 season as a top-six player. In fact, he was forced to sit out the first four games due to his first career suspension. Yet, he was still able to double his previous career-high in goals with 14.

Now as an established top line player who is still improving on the offensive side of the ice, 20 goals looks like a very obtainable number


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First-round draft pick Alex Alexeyev highlights Capitals' first round of roster cuts

NBC Sports Washington

First-round draft pick Alex Alexeyev highlights Capitals' first round of roster cuts

Several up and coming youngsters within the Washington Capitals' organization were sent back to their junior teams Wednesday, marking the team's first cuts of 2018 training camp.

Headlining the group is Russian defenseman Alex Alexeyev. The 18-year-old, who stands 6-4 and weighs just south of 200 pounds, was selected by the Caps with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Don't forget Mr. Irrelevant, either. Washington selected Eric Florchuk from the Saskatoon Blades with the very last pick in the seventh and final round of the draft.

Here's what he can do on the ice.

Kody Clark, Riley Sutter, Alex Kannok-Leipert and Kristian Marthinsen were other notable names asked to pack their bags. 

The Capitals open the 2018-19 season at home against the Boston Bruins Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m.