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Holtby blanks Flyers to win series, Capitals face Penguins next

Holtby blanks Flyers to win series, Capitals face Penguins next

It certainly wasn’t easy on themselves or their fans, but the Capitals are a quarter of the way toward winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom scored 8:59 into the second period with a bad-angle bullet under the crossbar and goaltender Braden Holtby stopped all 26 shots he faced for his fourth career playoff shutout to give the Caps a 1-0 win over Michal Neuvirth and the Flyers Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

With the win the Caps finished off the Flyers in six games and earned the right to face perhaps the hottest team in hockey, the Pittsburgh Penguins, for the first time in the playoffs since 2009. 

The schedule for Round 2 has not yet been announced, but with Justin Bieber slated to perform at Verizon Center on Friday, it’s likely Game 1 will be either Thursday or Saturday night in Chinatown.

The Caps went 2-2-1 in five games against the Penguins this season and were outscored 16-13 in the season series. Sidney Crosby netted a goal and three assists, while Alex Ovechkin was held without a point.

The Penguins have ousted the Capitals in seven of their eight playoff meetings, with the Caps’ only post-season win against them coming in 1994.

How it happened: Both teams squandered 5-on-3 power-play opportunities before Backstrom gave the Caps the lead just 4 seconds after a holding-the-stick penalty to Ryan White expired. John Carlson began the play with a long outlet pass to Ovechkin, who fought off a stick check by Radko Gudas at the blue line and fed the puck to Marcus Johansson. Johansson hit Backstrom with a pass at the bottom of the right circle and Backstrom one-timed a shot over an outstretched Neuvirth for his second goal and team-high seventh point of the series. The Flyers were held to just 15 shots through two periods but kept the pressure on Holtby in the third.

Save of the game: With six seconds remaining in regulation, Jay Beagle slid in front of a one-timer by Wayne Simmonds on what could have been a game-tying goal.

Stat worth remembering: The Caps improved to 4-0 in the playoffs and 41-0-1 overall when leading after two periods. 

Feeling Neuvy: Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth might have earned the No. 1 job to start next season with his herculean performance in Games 4, 5 and 6. He stopped 103 of 105 shots 

What’s next: A day off maybe? With at least three days off before the next series the Caps are likely to get the day off on Monday. 

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Capitals vs. Hurricanes preseason Game 4: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

USA Today

Capitals vs. Hurricanes preseason Game 4: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The preseason continues after the Capitals' loss in Montreal Thursday night. They are hoping to gain some momentum and dominate in Friday's game.

Even without the home advantage, they hope to take home a win as they face the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes are one of the four teams the Capitals will face in preseason play, along with the Bruins, Canadiens and Blues.

The Capitals and Hurricanes will meet once again, next Friday at Capital One Arena. But first, it's time to get back on the ice for Game 4 of the seven-game preseason schedule.


What: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

When: Friday, September, 21, 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Hurricanes preseason game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Hurricanes preseason on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7


7:00 PM: Washington Capitals: My Day with the Cup (R)
7:30 PM: NHL Preseason: Capitals @ Carolina Hurricanes 
10:00 PM: Caps Postgame Live (LIVE)


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4 players who impressed in Capitals preseason loss in Québec City

4 players who impressed in Capitals preseason loss in Québec City

Thursday’s game in Quebec City got off to a rough start for the Capitals. Washington gave up 13 shots on goal before they finally got their first late in the first period. Even worse, they yielded the first four goals in what would end up being a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

But it wasn’t all bad.

After going down 4-0 at the start of the second, the Caps finally woke up with two goals of their own and put together a much better effort from that point on.

Here are the players who really impressed from Thursday’s loss.

Connor Hobbs

If there’s one thing Hobbs is known for, it is his monster slap shot. Because of that, his wrist shot is often overlooked, but he is very adept at both and, something that impressed me when he was playing junior hockey for the Regina Pats, he always seems to know when to use which shot.

On the power play, Brett Connolly fed Hobbs at the top of the face-off circle and he had nothing but room in front of him. Rather than rush a slap shot, Hobbs showed some patience, lined up his shot, and fired the wrister to beat goalie Charlie Lindgren.

No one was particularly sterling defensively in a game in which Washington gave up five goals, but in the third period, Hobbs was able to poke check the puck away from a streaking Matthew Peca to prevent a scoring opportunity.

Jayson Megna

Megna is the only Caps player to appear in all three of the team’s preseason games and he may be playing his way at least into the conversation for sticking around in Washington. Where he stands out the most is on the penalty kill. Todd Reirden wants the team to be more aggressive with a man down, and Megna really seems to have embraced that philosophy. He had a great shorthanded opportunity in the second period and had another scoring chance later in the frame in which he hit the post.

The reality is that Megna remains a longshot to make the roster, there are just too many bodies competing for too few spots, but Megna has shown at the very least that it is too early to count him out.

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby

On Tuesday, Jonsson-Fjallby played alongside Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie which gave many hope for a big offensive performance. He was largely unnoticeable in that game, however, managing only one shot on goal and did not seem all that comfortable until the third period. He was much more comfortable on Thursday and had a much more noticeable impact on the game.

Jonsson-Fjallby’s best asset is his speed and that was on display in Quebec City, especially on the penalty kill.

In the third period, Jonsson-Fjallby pressured Lindgren into a quick pass as the netminder retrieved the puck behind the goal line. He then chased down the puck carrier, stole the puck and fired a quick backhander for the shorthanded chance. Later in the third period, Jonsson-Fjallby pounced on a lazy pass to launch himself on a shorthanded breakaway.

Jonsson-Fjallby is most likely not going to be a top-six NHL player, but he still has NHL speed and Thursday’s game showed how he can make his mark in the NHL as a very effective and dangerous penalty killer.

Alex Ovechkin

The Great 8 has literally nothing to prove in the preseason. Nothing. But for the last few years, every season has started with a discussion about whether or not this season will mark the beginning of Ovechkin’s decline.

In his preseason debut, Ovechkin got his first shot on goal in the second period and it ended up in the back of the net. Ovechkin’s one-timer looked as dangerous as ever as he cranked one from the office for the power play tally.

Ovechkin is going to face a lot of goalies who are a lot tougher to beat than Lindgren this season, but that one-timer looks like it is already in midseason form.