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Have Caps found their third-string goaltender?

Have Caps found their third-string goaltender?

The Capitals apparently have found their No. 3 goaltender and his name is Joe Cannata.

In a relatively quiet day for the Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Caps signed former first-round draft pick Brett Connolly to a one-year, one-way, $800,000 contract, then filled out their organizational depth by signing Cannata, defenseman Darren Dietz and forward Christian Thomas to one-year, two-way deals.

Cannata, 26, is expected to challenge for the No. 1 job with the AHL Hershey Bears next season and be the Caps’ emergency goalie if Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer gets injured.

Cannata has 88 games of AHL experience but has yet to play in a regular-season NHL game.

A 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Wakefield, Mass., Cannata played for the Utica Comets of the AHL last season, posting a 20-13-6 record with two shutouts, a 2.52 GAA and a .909 save percentage in 40 games.

In 88 games with Utica and Chicago of the AHL, Cannata has posted a 41-33-6 record with two shutouts, a 2.59 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.

Cannata also went 15-10-2 record with one shutout, 2.34 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 28 career ECHL games with Ontario and Kalamazoo.

Cannata spent four seasons (2008-12) at Merrimack College (NCAA), posting a 59-46-16 record with seven shutouts, a 2.47 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in 122 games. He holds the school record in wins, games played, goals-against average, save percentage and saves (3,152).

Dietz, 22, registered five points (one goal, four assists) and 13 penalty minutes in 13 games with the Montreal Canadiens last season.

The 6-foot-1, 201-pound defenseman was drafted by Montreal in the fifth round (138th overall) in the 2011 NHL fraft. Dietz earned 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) and 61 penalty minutes in 61 games with the St. John’s IceCaps in 2015-16.

Thomas, 24, registered two assists in six games with the Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens in 2015-16. He has earned three points (one goal, two assists) in 27 career NHL games with the Rangers, Montreal and Arizona. Thomas was drafted by the Rangers in the second round, 40th overall, in the 2010 NHL draft.

The Toronto native recorded 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 34 AHL games with Springfield and St. John’s last season and has 107 points (52 goals, 55 assists) in 219 career AHL games with Connecticut, Hamilton, St. John’s and Springfield. 

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3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

The Capitals play their last home game of October on Friday as they host the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Here’s what you need to watch.

Dmitrij Jaskin is back in

Todd Reirden has made one adjustment to the lineup for Friday’s game, putting Dmitrij Jaskin back in on the fourth line in place of Nathan Walker. Jaskin has yet to record a point since joining the Capitals, but that has a lot to do with where he was coming from.

“This team is based on being creative and it's probably something that I missed in the last few years,” Jaskin said following Friday’s morning skate.

In St. Louis, Jaskin was coached by Mike Yeo and, before him, Ken Hitchcock. Both coaches preach a hard-nosed offensive style based more on effort and being defensively responsible than skill. Coming to a team like Washington then, a team that encourages skill and creativity on offense, is a pretty dramatic change.

Jaskin has played a very safe style since coming into the lineup. It’s good to be defensively responsible, but not if it completely chokes the life out of the offense. Jaskin is hardly generating any offense at all thus far since coming to Washington.

After a few more practices, can it finally spark some skill and creativity from Jaskin?

Can the Caps get the bottom six back on track?

The Caps have gotten only two goals in six games from their bottom six and both came in the team’s blowout opening win against Boston. The third and fourth lines generated some chances on Wednesday, but afterward, Reirden stressed that the team needed to see more production from its depth forwards.

“We've got to continue to get scoring depth wise if we want to have success in this league,” he said. “That's where everything's headed is you can't rely on your top guys to come through for you every night and we'll continue to focus on finding the right chemistry with that third and fourth line to be able to give us some added offense there as well.”

Florida could provide a good opportunity for those players to get some points on the board.

Starting goalie Roberto Luongo is out with an injury and James Reimer will get the start on Friday. In three games, Reimer has a GAA of 3.62 and save percentage of .885.

As a team, the Panthers currently rank 24th in goals against per game with 3.50.

Two teams in need of a win

Florida is still searching for its first win of the season with a 0-2-2 record. It is still early, but this is a Panthers team with playoff aspirations and you don’t want to dig yourself in too deep a hole to start or it becomes very difficult to dig out.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be playing in their final home game of October. They leave Saturday for Vancouver to kick-off a three-game Western Canada trip. They then will face the Canadiens in Montreal on Nov. 1 before finally returning home.

Washington’s next home game will not come until Nov. 3. That makes Friday’s game a big one for the Caps as they try to secure two points before hitting the road.

“It's definitely a big game,” Reirden said. “We want to build on some of the things we were able to accomplish last game. It's difficult anytime you go out west with time changes and different stuff. We know that [Florida is] going to be a desperate team that hasn't had the start that they want and they're talented so it's an important game for us to go on the road on a winning note.”


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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei


The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin had arguably the best summer of anyone.

In June, the Capitals won their first ever Stanley Cup, and in August, Ovechkin and his wife Nastya Ovechkina welcomed their first kid.

Although Ovechkin's son Sergei is only a couple months old, the public has not seen much of him. Both Nastya and Alex posted pictures on Instagram of Sergei's foot when he was born, but neither had posted anything of him since.

In honor of Sergei's two month birthday, Nastya posted a picture of the three of them, with Alex holding Sergei in his hands. 

While it is hard to see much of Sergei, this is one of the first pictures of the couple with their newborn present. 

What a happy family!