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Ovechkin named finalist for another NHL award

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Ovechkin named finalist for another NHL award

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has achieved his share of milestones during his 10-year NHL career. He has a chance at another now that he has been named one of three finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the NHL’s “Most Outstanding Player” as voted by fellow players. Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn have also been nominated.

Ovechkin has a shot at becoming the third player in NHL history to win four “Most Outstanding Player” awards, joining Wayne Gretzky [5] and Mario Lemieux [4]. He previously received the Ted Lindsay Award in three consecutive seasons from 2007-10 and was a finalist in both 2005-06 and 2012-13. Only three NHL players have won the award three consecutive times -- Gretzky from 1982-85 and Guy Lafleur from 1976-78.

Ovechkin also has been nominated as one of three finalists for the 2014-15 Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded "to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team” by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

Ovechkin scored 53 goals this season to capture his third consecutive and fifth career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s leading goal-scorer. This season marked the sixth time in Ovechkin’s 10 NHL seasons he has reached the 50-goal plateau. The Moscow native joins Mike Bossy [9], Wayne Gretzky [9], Marcel Dionne [6], Guy Lafleur [6] and Mario Lemieux [6] as the only players in NHL history to record six 50-goal seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other NHL players with more than one 50-goal season since Ovechkin entered the NHL in 2005-06 are Dany Heatley [2], Ilya Kovalchuk [2] and Steven Stamkos [2].

The 2014-15 Ted Lindsay Award recipient will be announced on June 24 during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Ted Lindsay Award is the only award voted on by the players themselves, carrying on the tradition established by the Lester B. Pearson Award dating back to 1970-71. The Award honors Ted Lindsay, an All-Star forward known for his skill, tenacity, leadership, and for his role in establishing the original Players’ Association.

Benn played in all 82 regular season games for the Stars in 2014-15. He captured the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in points (87), which he won with a four-point game – including his second hat-trick of the season – on the final night of the regular season. He set career highs in points, goals (35) and assists (52). Benn tied for first in the NHL in even strength points (59), tied for third in even strength assists (36), and he finished third in points-per-game (1.06), sixth in the league in assists, ninth in goals and 11th in average ice-time per game among all forwards (19:56).

Price played 66 games for the Canadiens and helped them to the second-best record in the NHL. Price led the league in wins (44 – a new franchise-best), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933), which earned him finalist nominations for the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Vezina Trophy. He also claimed the William M. Jennings Trophy, along with Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks. Price would become just the second Canadiens player to receive the players' Award, following Lafleur, and he would also become only the third goaltender to receive the Award, joining Mike Liut (1980-81) and Dominik Hasek (1996-97, 1997-98).

[MORE CAPITALS: Capitals, Rangers too even to call after 3 games]

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Players to watch

It doesn't take an expert to tell you players like Alex Ovechkin or Marc-Andre Fleury will play a big role in the Stanley Cup Final.

Both the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will need their best players to be at their best to take home the Cup. But who will be the unexpected heroes? Who are the players no one is talking about who will have a big hand in their team's success or defeat in this series?

Here are five players you should be watching in the Stanley Cup:

1. Devante Smith-Pelly: Smith-Pelly had seven goals in 79 games in the regular season. Now he has four goals in just 19 playoff games.

Smith-Pelly has been one of those unlikely playoff heroes for the Caps this postseason with very timely performances such as scoring the series-clinching goal in Game 6 against the Columbus Blue and scoring the goal that put the game away in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The physical play has really stood out as well for him, which fits well on the fourth line role he has settled back into now that the team is healthy again. Barry Trotz tried moving him to the top line in the absence of Tom Wilson and the results weren't great. He is best suited for the role he currently has and that will allow him to thrive.

2. James Neal: Neal came up just short of the Stanley Cup last season as a member of the Nashville Predators. He totaled nine points in 22 games during that run, a number he has already matched in just 15 games this postseason.

There are very few players on either team that boast the kind of postseason experience Neal has. He will be leaned upon this series for his leadership.

Vegas is a young team and their unprecedented success in the playoffs may make this feel like the first run of many for the Golden Knights, but not for Neal who is on the last year of his contract and came tantalizingly close to the Cup last season. He will play like there is no tomorrow because, for him, there may not be in Vegas.

3. Andre Burakovsky: Burakovsky was one of the heroes of Game 7 with two goals to put away the Tampa Bay Lightning. That marked just the latest peak in a career full of peaks and valleys for the young winger. Just two games before, Burakovsky was a healthy scratch and spoke to the media about his plans to speak with a sports psychologist in the offseason.

The talent is there and it certainly appears that the injury that kept him out earlier in the playoffs is largely behind him. Burakovsky’s issues have always been mainly between the ears. In a series against a fast team with strong depth, he can be an absolutely critical piece for the Caps. Hopefully, his Game 7 performance gave him the confidence he needs to continue to be effective.

4. Ryan Reaves: Vegas acquired both Reaves and Tomas Tatar around the trade deadline. If I were to tell you that through three rounds of the playoffs, both players were healthy, had played the same number of games (6) and had the same number of points (1), you’d think I was crazy. Yet, here we are.

Reaves was largely an afterthought in a complicated trade between Vegas, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, but he has carved a nice role for himself on the Golden Knights’ fourth line and even scored the goal that sent Vegas to the Stanley Cup Final against the Winnipeg Jets.

Reaves is also an agitator on the ice, but what do the Caps do against a player like that when their normal fighter plays on the top line? We may see Reaves and Wilson come to blows this series, but it won't be very often because that is a bad tradeoff for the Caps.

5. Brooks Orpik: The elder statesman of the blue line, Orpik is the only player on the Caps with a Stanley Cup to his name and is the only one who has any idea what this experience is going to be like for the team.

Orpik is very diligent about keeping in shape which has allowed him to play in 81 games this season and all 19 playoff games despite being 37 years old, but you do have to wonder how much is left in the tank. Despite being the favorite whipping boy for the proponents of analytics, his physical play has been effective this postseason. The focus he placed on the skating in the offseason has paid dividends so far in matchups against the speedy Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Golden Knights will be the fastest team they have played yet. There is no denying Orpik is much more suited towards a physical style of game. Wil he continue to be effective or will Vegas exploit the Caps' third defensive pairing?

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