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McKenzie hopes to take flight with Caps

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McKenzie hopes to take flight with Caps

Its probably fair to say that every player attending the Capitals development camp this week has overcome an obstacle or two on their way to getting invited to Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

But getting dropped off in the middle of the Rocky Mountains for an entire week with just one meal in his backpack?

Adam McKenzie, a 22-year-old free agent defenseman from the Air Force Academy, is one of the most unlikely invitees to the Capitals camp, which continues through Saturday.

A year ago, he and eight other cadets were left in the mountains to the west of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with one simple instruction: Survive.

Halfway through, we split into groups of five and four, he said. I lost 14 pounds, dropped from 180 pounds to 166. It wasnt fun, I can tell you that.

Neither was six weeks of basic training two summers ago, a time McKenzie recalls being just miserable.

This week, thanks to Capitals scout Wil Nichol, McKenzie is spending a third of his three-week summer leave from the Academy trying to convince the Capitals hes good enough to sign to a pro contract.

McKenzie, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound native of Petaluma, Calif., was midway through his sophomore season at Air Force when he was introduced to Nichol following a game at Canisius College in Buffalo.

He came up to me and said hes been watching for a while and wanted to invite me to this camp, McKenzie said.

McKenzie finished the season with two goals and 16 assists in 39 games and despite being the first prospect out of Air Force to attend a Capitals rookie camp, he has not looked out of place.

There are things to improve on but I definitely feel comfortable here, McKenzie said. I dont feel Im playing out of my league at all.

As a northern Californian, McKenzie had to travel more than 50 miles to play in competitive leagues. He started in a Santa Rosa B program, moved up to play at Tri Valley and played Triple A midget hockey for the San Jose Junior Sharks.

After graduating from high school, McKenzie played two years under former NHL defenseman Paul Baxter with the Wenatchee Wild of the North American Hockey League, then enrolled at the Air Force Academy.

Although hes never flown an F-16, McKenzie said the Air Force hockey team travels by cargo plane.

Well sit in jump seats the whole way, he said. Its not the most comfortable, but it gets us there quick.

McKenzie said this is his second trip to the D.C. area. Two years ago he toured Andrews Air Force Base and attended two Nationals games.

At both of them they gave military there long standing ovations, he said. You absolutely get that kind of respect here.

McKenzie plans on returning to play another two seasons for Air Force, but wouldnt mind spending part of his three-week leave next summer at another Capitals development camp in Arlington.

Id absolutely give that up to be here, he said. This has been an amazing experience and something Ive always dreamed about.

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Capitals at Maple Leafs: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Maple Leafs: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Things aren't going great for the Washington Capitals of late.

After leading for 59:59 of Tuesday night's game against the San Jose Sharks and with one second left in regulation, Evander Kane scored to force overtime and Tomas Hertl eventually scored the game winner. The late collapse extended the Caps' losing streak to six for the first time in five years, and now they must travel to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs for one final game before the All-Star break. 

Wednesday's matchup will also be the final game for the Leafs before the All-Star break. Just like the Caps, they too are in need of a week off. Since the NHL's holiday break, Toronto has won only three of 10, scoring 24 times in that 10-game stretch. 

At home, the Leafs have a 13-11-1 record this season but have lost four straight and six of their last seven. 

Here's everything you need to know before the Caps hit the ice for the last time until Feb. 1. 

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs, 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON, Canada
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Sharks at Capitals game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS TV SCHEDULE

6:30 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
7:00 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:30 PM: Capitals vs. Leafs on NBCSN
10:90 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live
11:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
Maple Leafs: D Jake Gardiner (day-to-day with back spasms) 

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Braden Holtby, G, Capitals (17 wins, 11 losses, 3 OT losses, 97 GA): The Caps were a second away from snapping their five-game losing streak until Evander Kane got one past Holtby and Tomas Hertl scored the winner. In their six-game losing streak, the Caps have given up 30 goals and 52 in their last 10. A solid performance from Holtby and a W heading into the All-Star break could help the Caps get out of their funk. 

John Tavares, C, Maple Leafs (30 goals, 23 assist, 53 points): Tavares currently leads the Maple Leafs with 30 goals, with his last one coming Jan. 20 against the Arizona Coyotes. The centre is already making an impact for the Leafs after parting ways with the New York Islanders after nine seasons. 

CAPITALS at MAPLE LEAFS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 151
All-Time Series Record: Caps lead 77-64-10
Last Meeting: Leafs win 4-2 (10/13/18)
Last 10: Caps lead 6-4 (including playoffs) 

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Capitals’ losing streak extends to six in stunning OT loss to Sharks

Capitals’ losing streak extends to six in stunning OT loss to Sharks

The Capitals were one second away from snapping a five-game losing streak, but instead saw that streak extended to six games as Evander Kane scored with one second left to force overtime and Tomas Hertl scored the winner in a 7-6 overtime thriller.

Here are five reasons the Caps lost.

1. Evander Kane’s miracle buzzer-beater

The Caps clung to a 6-5 lead late in the third when Kane found the puck on his stick in front of the net and shot it in with just one second remaining on the clock.

Just one second away from claiming two points and ending a miserable five-game losing streak, Kane’s goal forced overtime and helped extend Washington’s streak to six.

2. Hertl’s hatty

Ovechkin netted a hat trick for the home team, but Hertl matched him with three goals of his own to win the game.

Hertl scored two power play goals, including one in the third to pull the Sharks within one. He also scored the overtime winner to crush the Caps’ hopes of snapping their losing streak.

3. 12 seconds

For a team that has lost five straight and looking for some confidence, you could not have drawn up a worse start to this game. A won faceoff for the Sharks went straight to Brent Burns at the blue line. He threw the puck towards the net and it bounced off John Carlson right to the stick of Joe Pavelski who backhanded it in.

Braden Holtby had committed to the original shot and there was no way for him to recover leaving an empty net for Pavelski to shoot on.

It took just 12 seconds for the Sharks to get on the boards.

4. Too many penalties

You can’t give up six power plays in a game and live to talk about it.

San Jose tied the game at 2 in the second period thanks to a power play goal from Hertl who unleashed a one-timer from the slot to beat Holtby. In the third period Washington took two different minor penalties and the Sharks cashed in on the second. The goal came from Hertl who unleashed a one-timer from the slot to beat Holtby.

The two power play goals looked almost identical. The second made the score 6-5, pulled San Jose within one of Washington and sparked the comeback.

5. The first minute of overtime

For nearly the first minute of overtime, the Caps looked as dominant as a team can look. They would not allow the puck to get out of the Sharks’ zone and got a number of opportunities to finish the game including a 3-on-1 with Tom Wilson’s shot just deflecting wide.

If the losing streak has taught Washington anything, it’s that they must take advantage of their opportunities. They didn’t finish the Sharks at the start of overtime and Hertl ended up with the game-winner.

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