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Kevin Shattenkirk scores his first goal for the Capitals...or did he?

Kevin Shattenkirk scores his first goal for the Capitals...or did he?

One of the turning points of the Tuesday’s game between the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames came very late in the second period when Kevin Shattenkirk just barely managed to beat Brian Elliott for the power play goal. It came with less than three seconds remaining in the period and gave the Caps a 3-1 lead. The goal, which ultimately proved to be the game-winner, was his first with the Caps

…or was it?

“I didn’t think I got it,” Shattenkirk said after the game.


On Wednesday, the NHL officially awarded the goal to Backstrom with assists from Shattenkirk and Oshie.

RELATED: Capitals douse Flames, 4-2

A shot from Alex Ovechkin was blocked in front of the net by Calgary defenseman Deryk Engelland and bounced to open ice in the faceoff circle. Shattenkirk took advantage as he stepped up and snapped a shot at Elliott. Initially, it looked like Elliott had the puck squeezed into his arm, but it popped out out behind him and trickled towards the line. Both Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie took swipes at it and....

The puck went in the net. Goal Capitals.

But who got it?

Replays appeared to show that Backstrom may have just gotten a piece of the puck to knock it in. Yet, the goal was awarded to Shattenkirk.

And that left everyone a bit…confused.

“I saw those two fighting each other to try to poke it in,” Shattenkirk said. “Once I got the puck, I was pretty happy about it.”

When asked if he had gotten a piece of it, Backstrom said “I thought so yeah, but apparently not.”

Should the goal stand, it will be Shattenkirk’s first after nine games with the Caps. Regardless, it will be his first multi-point game for his new team as he also added an assist on Alex Ovechkin’s power play goal in the third period. He now has six points since the trade, good for .67 points per game. That currently ranks fifth among the Caps and the highest among the team’s defensemen.

But come Wednesday, he may find he has just six assists for Washington instead of one goal and five assists.

What does he think? Does Shattenkirk think it was his goal? “Nope. We'll see tomorrow if there's any scoring change. If there is, then I've just got to keep putting my head down and going for it again.”

MORE CAPITALS: Braden Holtby's strong night led to the Caps beating Calgary

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are not happy with Caps' Lars Eller

The Toronto Maple Leafs are not happy with Caps' Lars Eller

On Saturday, the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals faced off against one of the hottest young teams in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was viewed as a marquee matchup and it certainly lived up to its billing with both teams battling in a tight, well-played game.

In the end, Toronto walked away as the 4-2 victors in one of their better wins of the young season, but not everyone left that game impressed.

A team that already boasted super-star talent Auston Matthews added John Tavares in the offseason as a free agent giving the Maple Leafs a formidable one, two punch at center. For most of the game, the Caps were able to shut down that center tandem.

Lars Eller was asked after the game how the Caps were able to keep the Leafs’ big stars in check and he indicated that perhaps Tavares and Matthews were not as formidable a pair as they had been made out to be.

“We’re used to playing against [Sidney Crosby] and [Evgeni Malkin],” Eller said. “Everything kind of drops from there so it’s not that special. It’s a good team like a lot of others. They’ll probably be a playoff team, I think.”

Not surprisingly, that quote caught Toronto’s attention, especially forward Nazem Kadri.

Per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Kadri called Eller’s comments “bulletin board material.”

With 12 points in seven games, the Maple Leafs currently boast the top record in the league. Toronto is far from perfect, however, and their defense remains a major question mark in whether this team is a true Stanley Cup contender.

But as to whether or not they are a playoff team? That seems like a pretty safe bet.

The Caps and Maple Leafs will meet twice more this season on Jan. 23 and Feb. 21. Both games are in Toronto.  



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Capitals are sticking with Chandler Stephenson on the top line… for now


Capitals are sticking with Chandler Stephenson on the top line… for now

With Tom Wilson still serving a 20-game suspension, Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden has the difficult task of finding a wing to complement his top line of Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. For the first four games of the season, that player was Brett Connolly.

On Saturday, however, he changed things up and went with Chandler Stephenson instead.

Just 18 seconds into the game, Stephenson made his head coach look very smart as he finished off a 2-on-1 with Kuznetsov to score his first goal of the season.

“Obviously, the start was great,” Reirden said after the game.

Stephenson is an incredibly fast skater and the extra speed seemed to add another dimension to that line that opponents had to contend with, and it led to both of the Caps’ goals on the night.

In addition to Stephenson’s goal, Ovechkin drew a tripping penalty in the second period, and Washington scored on the resulting power play.

“Those guys are a lot of fun to play with,” Stephenson said. “They just know where to be and can find each other. I've just got to get the puck to them and just go to the net with your stick on the ice, and they'll find you.”

The top line’s success was a matter of finding instant chemistry as Stephenson had very little time to adjust. The Caps were off on Friday following back-to-back games, and Reirden did not make the switch of putting Stephenson on the top until Saturday’s morning skate.

Putting a new top line together with little time to practice does not seem like an ideal scenario, but according to Kuznetsov, the level of familiarity between all the players made the adjustment quick and easy.

“It doesn't matter with who you play,” he said. “In this locker room, we can communicate with anybody. We don't have a first line, we don't have a fourth line. We try and roll all lines.”

Reirden seemed pleased with the new trio after the game saying, “They did a number of good things during the game as well, so they I thought accomplished a lot. I thought [Stephenson] brought the speed on the forecheck and was able to at least go after their defense a little bit and force some turnovers that Kuznetsov and [Ovechkin] were able to at least get some opportunities from. So I think that's important to have him in that situation.”

Reirden was happy enough with the top line’s performance to keep them together. The team is off Monday, but Stephenson remained on the top line during Sunday’s practice.

But so long as Wilson remains out, finding the right match for the top line will remain a work in progress.

Said Reirden, “We’ll continue to try to put together our four lines that give us the best chance.”