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Prediction recap: Alex Ovechkin gets more ice time but not much

Prediction recap: Alex Ovechkin gets more ice time but not much

We’ve got a tie series! The Caps split two games in Toronto after a 5-4 win in Game 4 and now return home with the series tied at 2.

Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions for Game 4.

1. Alex Ovechkin will get over 23 minutes of ice time – Not even close

Interestingly enough, Ovechkin’s ice time for Game 4 was still low at just 16:31. That’s not enough. Granted, the third period started with the Caps being on the five on three penalty kill for almost an entire two minutes. That cuts into Ovechkin’s minutes for sure, but Trotz still needs to find a way to get his best player out on the ice. And while we are on the subject of playing time, Daniel Winnik got 6:37 and Brett Connolly just 4:26. Has Trotz lost faith in his fourth line?

RELATED: 3 key observations: Wilson shows potential Caps always saw in him

2. Toronto will take a goalie interference penalty - Wrong

I am tempted to give myself half a point here because Toronto’s fourth goal was reviewed for goalie interference, but the goal stood and, to be honest, that play wasn’t goalie interference. The referees made the correct call. The disallowed goal for Nate Schmidt? Well, that’s a different story, but I digress. I thought Toronto would be much more physical with Holtby, but they really didn’t change what they have been doing which makes sense. They are getting over three goals per game against Holtby, there’s no reason to change anything.

3. Whoever scores first will win - Correct

Washington took the early 2-0 lead and finished the first period up 4-1. The rest of the game was no cakewalk though, as the Caps escaped with just a one-goal victory. That big win we all keep expecting from Washington, that 4-1 or 5-0 breakout win we all expected to see may not be coming. But, so long as the Caps escape this series, no one will care how big their margin of victory was.

2017 Predictions: The playoffs, in general, are hard to predict and this series is proving to be no different.

Correct: 5
Wrong: 7
Push: 0

MORE CAPITALS: Are these the bravest Capitals fans to ever live?

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D.C. artist turns her love for the Washington Capitals into works of art

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@tkopaintings on Twitter

D.C. artist turns her love for the Washington Capitals into works of art

Local artist Taylor Kampa has taken her love for the Washington Capitals and turned it into works of art. 

You can find paintings done by Kampa of Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Braden Holtby on display at Circa Chinatown – a restaurant neighboring Capital One Arena – along with other D.C. celebrities.

A professional artist for the last decade, Kampa told NHL.com that the pictures were "passion projects," and took about eight hours to finish. She became a fan of the Caps after she began dating her now-husband back in 2009.

Her work has even caught the eye of The Great Eight. After posting a video to Instagram of her painting Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner liked and commented on it. 

"I almost died," Kampa said.

"It has been amazing sharing something that I am excited about that resonates with the people in my city," Kampa said. "I've been painting these portraits for a long time, so it's awesome to have them seen by so many people."

Kampa will also create paintings for the Capitals foundation's annual Casino Night fundraiser next year. 

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Key Caps questions: Who will play center on the fourth line?

Key Caps questions: Who will play center on the fourth line?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals correspondent JJ Regan is here to help you through the offseason doldrums as he discusses key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: Who will be the team's primary fourth line center?

With the departure of Jay Beagle, there is a spot open at center on the fourth line. There appears on the roster to be three clear candidates to fill that position: Chandler Stephenson, Travis Boyd and Nic Dowd.

To find out why you should cross Stephenson’s name off the list, you should read yesterday's Key Caps Question about whether or not Stephenson is a wing or a center. To summarize, Washington sees Stephenson as more of a wing which explains why they both re-signed Boyd and brought in Dowd.

So who will it be between those two?

Both players seem to fit the mold as effective centers in the AHL where they were both productive. Dowd has an edge in NHL experience with 131 NHL games as compared to Boyd’s eight.

But Barry Trotz clearly had faith in Boyd at center which is why we saw him fill in on the top line on March 18 in Philadelphia. Boyd rewarded that faith with a spin pass to Alex Ovechkin for an assist, his first career point.

Trotz is now gone and Todd Reirden is in charge, but there is at least a level of familiarity there with the coaching staff and Boyd, more so than with Dowd who is new to the organization.

Second, the Caps may have tipped their hand a bit when you compare the two contracts. Center is an important position and Brian MacLellan has frequently referenced the team’s strength in center depth as a major reason for their Cup run.

Both Boyd and Dowd were signed over the offseason. Both contracts are one-way, suggesting both will be in the NHL, but Boyd’s cap hit is $800,000 while Dowd’s is $650,000. Of course, that will not matter when the players get on the ice. If Dowd outplays Boyd, he will start over him. Plus, the market ultimately dictates price. Even if the Caps wanted Dowd for their top line, if you can get him for $650k, you sign him for $650k.

Considering how important a position center is, however, even on the fourth line, it seems telling that the team was willing to give Boyd, a player with eight games of experience to his name, $800k while Dowd was signed for the minimum. That seems to suggest the Caps at least foresee Boyd having a bigger role which, for two players penciled in for the fourth line, would mean playing him at center.

Other key Caps questions: