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Guess what Flyers fans told Alex Ovechkin

Guess what Flyers fans told Alex Ovechkin

Following Sunday’s post-game handshake between the Capitals and Flyers, which remains one of the most honorable traditions in professional sports, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was skating off the Wells Fargo Center ice when several Flyers fans began screaming at him.

But it wasn’t what you (or he) might expect.

“Go beat the Penguins!” a fan yelled. Followed by another, and another. Until it became a mini-chant.

As a reward for surviving a six-game series that featured 403 hits (205 by the Flyers, 198 by the Caps) the Capitals get to face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who rolled over the New York Rangers in five games, outscoring them 21-10.

“It should be a lot of fun,” Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. “They’re hot right now. They were hot the whole end of the season. I watched a lot of their (first-round) series and they were good, scoring a lot of goals.

“It’s going to be a serious test from that team. It’s cool to stay in the state of Pennsylvania, not too far of a trip for us.”

The Capitals will be given the day off on Monday and are expected to begin preparations for the Penguins on Tuesday. The schedule for the second round is expected to be announced at the conclusion of Round 1, which could come as soon as Monday or as late as Wednesday, depending on the outcome of the Anaheim-Nashville series.   

Thanks to winning the Presidents’ Trophy the Capitals will open their second-round series against the Penguins at Verizon Center, with possible starting dates of Thursday orSaturday. (Justin Bieber is performing at Verizon Center on Friday).

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Caps right wing Marcus Johansson, who assisted on Nicklas Backstrom’s game-winning goal on Sunday. “I think the farther you get the more fun it gets. I can’t wait to get started. It’s the best thing there is, to play playoff hockey and keep going on.”

The Caps went 2-2-1 against the Penguins in their five regular season matchups. Sidney Crosby gathered one goal and three assists in the season series, while Alex Ovechkin was held without a point.

“Both are fast teams,” said Flyers left wing Jake Voracek, who was held to one goal in six games against the Caps. “It’s going to be a great series.

“I don’t know if I’ll watch because I need to rest up, but it’s going to be a great series. Two very good teams. Pittsburgh is playing well from what I saw. I’m not going to say who’s going to win or who’s going to lose. It’s too bad it’s not us.”

The Flyers put up quite a fight in their series against the Caps, with former Caps netminder stopping 101 of 103 shots. When the ice shavings settled and the two teams shook hands at center ice, all of the bad blood between the two teams seemed to melt away.

“Actually, a lot of guys were pushing us along, telling us to win,” Alzner said. “It’s funny, because you hate those guys so much when you’re playing them.

“You think everything they do is cheap. You’re friends with one guy and then all of sudden you won’t even wave to him when he walks by you. And then the handshake comes and it’s all good.”

Until the next series.

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With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

USA Today

With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

On June 7 in Las Vegas, Jay Beagle was in a Capitals uniform as they hoisted their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Three weeks later, the 33-year-old signed a four-year, $12-million contract with the Vancouver Canucks

The Capitals begin a four-game, Canadian road trip this evening in Vancouver. Beagle did not attend the Capitals ring ceremony at the Palm three weeks ago so the Caps awarded Beagle with his ring today.

Each ring contains 252 diamonds, 35 rubies and one sapphire. Beagle was impressed but isn't sure how much use the ring will get.

“Not sure I’ll wear it again. It’s like wearing my truck.”

Jay Beagle will not be on the ice tonight against his former team. Beagle broke his forearm when he blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on October 13th. Beagle is expected to be sidelined for another five weeks.

Despite the injury, it has still been a great week for Beagle. 

A shiny, new ring AND a baby girl. Not too shabby.


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4 things to watch in Capitals at Canucks

4 things to watch in Capitals at Canucks

It’s going to be a late night. The Caps are in Vancouver to take on the Canucks (10 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus) for the first of a four-game swing through Canada. Grab your coffee, here are four things you need to watch.

Offensive firepower

Washington enters Monday’s game with the top offense in the NHL with 4.14 goals per game. Vancouver had one of the worst defenses in the league last year. They have looked much improved at the start of this season, but they are still giving up 3.00 goals per game. Washington’s high-powered superstars should be able to take advantage and get some points on the board.

Adjusted lines

The fact that Washington has the top offense in the NHL is surprising considering how much their depth forwards have struggled to produce. Prior to Friday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the Caps had gotten only two goals from the bottom six and both had come in the season-opener. After seeing his team go down 4-1 against Florida, head coach Todd Reirden shuffled up the lines and it seemed to create a spark for the offense.

Reirden indicated Sunday he will stick with those lines and he kept them together for Monday’s morning skate:

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Devante Smith-Pelly
Chandler Stephenson – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly
Dmitrij Jaskin – Nic Dowd – Andre Burakovsky

Vrana, Connolly and Smith-Pelly all scored after the change. Per the Caps’ PR team, the third line of Vrana, Eller and Connolly produced two goals, eight shot attempts and allowed just three shot attempts in over six minutes of five-on-five play.

Special teams

In addition to having the top offense in the NHL, the Caps also boast the top power play. With the extra man, the Caps are producing on 38.5-percent of their opportunities. That is most likely not a sustainable number, but it does show the power play is as good as ever.

The Canucks come into this game ranked eighth on the penalty kill at 83.9-percent and they will be the latest team to try and slow down a power play that is really starting to click with John Carlson seemingly developing into one of the top blue liners in the NHL.

Remember me?

Vancouver’s star rookie Elias Pettersson is still in concussion protocol and will not play in Monday’s game, but there is another talented youngster who will the Caps will need to watch out for in Brock Boeser.

Boeser was in a dead heat with New York Islanders forward Matt Barzal for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year last season before an injury forced him to miss the last month of the season.

In two career games against Washington, Boeser has recorded three assists. He has had a bit of a slower start to the season with five points thus far, but he is a dynamic talent who the Caps’ defense will have to account for.