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Matt Niskanen's second career two-goal game helps Caps sink Isles

Matt Niskanen's second career two-goal game helps Caps sink Isles

Matt Niskanen came into the season hoping to contribute more offensively. And through his first 26 games, the Capitals defenseman had done a decent job of chipping in here and there.

But he hadn’t scored a goal. That is, until Tuesday night in Brooklyn, where he began making up for lost time by scoring twice to lift the Caps to a 4-2 victory over the Islanders.

The two tallies marked Niskanen’s first multi-goal performance in 191 games as a Capital and the second multi-goal game he’s produced in 682 NHL games. His only other two-goal game came as a member of the Penguins in 2013-14, which was the year he scored a career-best 10 goals.

Niskanen now has three points in the last two games, marking his most productive stretch of the season.

“It feels good,” he told reporters at Barclays Center. “It’s nice to see the puck go in. On that first one, it might have been the best chance I’ve had this year, so I’m glad that one went in at least.”

RELATED: Niskanen scores twice to give Caps their fifth straight win

Indeed, Niskanen’s first goal of the night was a big one.

Just 1:34 into the third period, he took a feed from Dmitry Orlov and, from the circle, picked his spot and ripped a wrist shot over Jaroslav Halak’s glove. And like that, the Caps were back up 3-2.

Niskanen’s second goal put the game on ice. With a 1:58 left to play, he fired a slap shot past a screened Halak, whose sightline was obscured by Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie and an Islanders defender.

“Matt is known more for his shutdown role. So, any time you get a couple of goals, I think that’s a feather in his play,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “The guys were excited. They were trying to get him a third one.”

Niskanen's second goal came his sixth shot of the game. No one else, on either team, had more than four.

Asked about his preseason comments about producing more offense, Niskanen said he doesn’t measure his success in that area solely by goals.

“My goal is to keep putting myself in that position, so I’m getting opportunities,” he said. “As a defenseman, you’re going to have a string of luck. I did tonight. Then you may go have another dry spell. So, just keep putting myself in the position to support the forwards on the rush, in the offensive zone and try to create by shooting the puck.”

Niskanen also addressed the Caps’ five-game winning streak, which matches their longest of the season.

“At that the start of this thing we weren’t too happy with the way we were playing. Guys were having meetings and coaches were pissed and all this,” he said. “And we still had a pretty good record. It’s better to fix things when you still have a good record; it’s a little bit easier. Each game we’re playing a little bit better, a little bit better. I thought we generated a lot tonight, a lot of shots, obviously, had the puck a ton.”

He added: “Our game is coming, and that’s a good thing.”

MORE CAPITALS: Islanders center takes skate blade to arm

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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!


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Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan


Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

Say it ain't so.

Mitchell Gibson is the first goalie the Capitals have drafted since Ilya Samsonov in 2015, but they may be thinking twice about their selection after a recent shocking interview.

Gibson spoke with a local Philadelphia CBS station and revealed that both he and his family...are Flyers fans.

Insert dramatic music.

"I think my family will always be Flyers fans in their hearts and I guess I will be a little bit," Gibson admitted, hopefully with guilt in his voice.

Gibson was selected by the Caps in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, but clearly the scouts did not do their homework. It's as if Gibson grew up a hockey fan in a place like Phoenixville, Pa. (about an hour outside of Philadelphia) without anticipating the future that he may one day be drafted by a rival team like Washington.

Shame, shame.

The young netminder tried to make up for his horrifying admission later in the interview.

"The Capitals are definitely treating me well right now so I would like to be their goalie," he said.

A likely story.

Gibson is only 19 and set to begin his first collegiate season at Harvard in 2018 so at least there is still time for Gibson to overcome his shameful past. And hey, it could always be worse. At least he's not a Penguins fan.