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Prediction recap: Caps' win over Leafs offers multiple surprises

Prediction recap: Caps' win over Leafs offers multiple surprises

The Caps’ 6-5 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday was a crazy game in more ways than one.

Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions.

1. Neither team will score on the power play - Super wrong

Alex Ovechkin drew a penalty in the first shift of the game and the Caps snapped their 0-for-17 power play drought just 1:14 into the game. Just for good measure, Toronto also scored on its first power play opportunity to make sure I couldn’t even claim to be half right. In total, three power play goals were scored in this game.

RELATED: Trotz adjusts OT strategy as Caps bag Leafs

2. Nicklas Backstrom will finish with more points than Auston Matthews - Wrong

Backstrom was seemingly one of the few players held without a point in this game. Matthews, meanwhile, looked every bit the budding superstar with two assists, one of which came on a beautiful spin-o-rama move to set up Leo Komarov in the second period.

3. Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky will account for more points than any other line - Wrong

Considering these three combined for a grand total of one point, an assist from Eller, this one did not come close. John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Justin Williams each had more points by the themselves than the Caps’ third line.

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz felt Holtby was 'battling the puck' in first period

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T.J. Oshie injured in Game 4 after dangerous hit from Warren Foegele

T.J. Oshie injured in Game 4 after dangerous hit from Warren Foegele

As the series returns to Washington tied 2-2, the Capitals will have more concerns than just a blown series lead. T.J. Oshie left Game 4 late after a dangerous hit to the back from Carolina forward Warren Foegele sent him dangerously into the boards.

As Oshie entered into the offensive zone with the puck, Foegele came in on the backcheck. Oshie had a good position on the puck, blocking Foegele out with his back. Foegele responded with a cross-check to the back of Oshie that knocked him over face-first awkwardly into the boards. Oshie appeared to strike the boards with his right shoulder and was doubled over in obvious pain as he slowly made his way off the ice.

Alex Ovechkin was incensed after the play. He yelled at Foegele afterward and even followed him to the penalty box and continued to yell at him from outside the box.

Foegele was issued a two-minute minor for boarding.

The rules regarding boarding allow the referees a large degree of discretion when determining if a penalty is a minor or a major. Both penalties can be assessed at the referee’s discretion “based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards.”

A reasonable argument could be made for either a minor or a major penalty in that situation. On the one hand, Foegele was back-checking and Oshie certainly knew he was there. The hit may have been illegal, but he was blocking out Foegele and not unsuspecting. On the other, the check sent Oshie to the boards with a tremendous degree of violence which is the only specific standard given for a major.

A major penalty in a one-goal game with just over five minutes remaining could have been a game-changer. Regardless, Washington had a power play with a chance to tie the game and failed. Now they will have to cross their fingers that when they take the ice on Saturday for Game 5, Oshie will be in the lineup and not out with an injury.



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Capitals see series lead evaporate after narrow Game 4 loss

Capitals see series lead evaporate after narrow Game 4 loss

The Capitals brought a 2-0 series lead with them to Carolina. It will return to Washington tied at 2.

The Caps looked much better on Thursday than in their disastrous Game 3 loss, but the result was still the same with Washington coming up short in a 2-1 defeat.

The series now turns to a best of three with Games 5 and 7 in Washington. Game 5 will take place on Saturday.

Here are three reasons Washington lost.

The first minute

After a brutal Game 3, getting off to a good start in Game 4 was a must. The Capitals did not do that.

If a defenseman decides to cheat up into the offensive zone, he has to have support. Matt Niskanen cheated up to close off the wall, but Carolina was able to get the puck out and the rush was on. Niskanen was playing catch up with Jaccob Slavin the entire rush. Justin Williams found Slavin who set up Warren Foegele for his third goal of the series. It came just 17 seconds into the game.

Just 36 seconds later, Jakub Vrana was whistled for charging Jordan Martinook, a horribly unnecessary penalty.

After their worst playoff game since 2013, Washington's initial response one minute into the game was to give up a goal and a penalty. Not ideal.

The final minute of the second period

Despite the brutal start, Washington settled in and was really the better team from midway in the first period through the entire second period. Alex Ovechkin tied the game at 1 on the power play and it looked like the Caps were finally back in control…until the final minute of the second.

As time ticked away in the period, Sebastian Aho had the puck in the neutral zone. He was pressured to the right side by Lars Eller and dropped the puck to Nino Niederreiter who was waiting at the blue line. Inexplicably, Brooks Orpik moved over to the side as well despite the fact that Dmitry Orlov was there in front of Niederreiter. That left the middle wide open. Niederreiter found a streak Teuvo Teravainen and Orpik, who was out of position caught on the wrong side, was not able to recover in time. Teravainen scored to put Carolina up 2-1.

Washington had been the better team the entire period but had nothing to show for it, giving up a goal with 27.9 seconds remaining in the second period. The Caps entered the period down one and left he period down one.

Caps fail to cash in on critical power play

Ovechkin's second period goal snapped a streak of 12-straight power plays without a goal. When handed a critical power play late in the game, however, Washington came up short.

Foegele took a boarding penalty as he cross-checked T.J. Oshie in the back sending him awkwardly into the boards with just over five minutes remaining in the game. With the chance to tie the game on arguably the most important power play of the series, Washington came up short with the extra man. Granted, the loss of Oshie certainly did not help. He did not return in the game.

The Caps finished with one goal on three power play opportunities. Not terrible, but with a chance to tie the game and take back control of the series late in the third, that's a goal you have to have.