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Prediction recap: The PK steps up for Washington in rout of Flyers

Prediction recap: The PK steps up for Washington in rout of Flyers

A four-goal third period turned what looked like a close contest into a blowout as the Washington Capitals won their ninth straight thanks to a 5-0 romp over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions.

1. The Flyers will score a power play goal - Wrong

The Caps gave Philadelphia plenty of chances as they took five minor penalties, but the Caps’ P.K. was up to the task as they killed off all five against a very potent Flyes power play. Taking too many penalties remains one of the few blights for the Caps in their nine-game win streak.

RELATED: Philipp Grubauer is about to get more action

2. Both teams will combine for over 65 shots - Not even close

The total number was 44 shots on goal. Washington didn’t really do its part on this one with only 10 shots through the first two periods. You could tell the game was turning in Washington’s favor in the second period when Philadelphia managed only four. Then in the third, the Flyers barely seemed to have the puck at all while Washington scored four times on just 12 shots.

3. A defenseman will score for Washington - Correct

Thanks to Matt Niskanen for saving me from another shutout. Niskanen scored not once, but twice for the Caps in the offensive bonanza of the third period. I expected Washington to slow things down and play a more deliberate style after getting caught up in a foot race the last time these two teams played. That would mean more passes to the blue line for shots and deflections. Ironically enough, Niskanen’s first goal came off the rush thanks to a great pass from Alex Ovechkin.

2017 Results: Maybe I should just predict Washington will get five goals and not allow any for every game from now on.

Correct: 5
Wrong: 19
Push: 0

MORE CAPITALS: Carlson hurt during Sunday's game vs. Flyers

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Commentator Don Cherry fired after 'divisive remarks'

Commentator Don Cherry fired after 'divisive remarks'

Don Cherry has been fired from Sportsnet after making controversial comments about immigrants on-air Saturday evening.

Cherry, 85, criticized the decreasing amount of Canadians wearing poppies to honor fallen Canadian soldiers on Remembrance Day, singling out Toronto immigrants. 

“You people . . . you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said on his show, Coach's Corner. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

Sportsnet, the Canadian sports network, released a statement Monday announcing that Cherry would be stepping down.

Ron MacLean, Cherry's co-host, apologized Sunday on his own show, Hometown Hockey, for Cherry's comments.

“Don Cherry made remarks which were hurtful, discriminatory — which were flat out wrong," MacLean said.

Cherry, the host of Coach's Corner since 1982, has been a prominent hockey personality for decades.

He drew the ire of Caps fans last year when he called Caps center Evgeny Kuznetsov a "jerk" for his bird-walk celebration.

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With Panik’s return, the Caps strip roster down to the bone and enter Monday’s game with no spare players

With Panik’s return, the Caps strip roster down to the bone and enter Monday’s game with no spare players

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Get out the bubble wrap, the Capitals need to keep their lineup healthy or they could be in trouble. Richard Panik will make his return to the lineup on Monday after spending 10 games on LTIR with an upper-body injury. His return will mean the Caps lose the cap benefit that comes with LTIR and will have to fit his $2.75 million cap hit under the ceiling. That has forced the team into tough moves to cut the roster down to make it cap compliant.

Travis Boyd was held off the ice for Monday’s morning skate as the team made sure it had a healthy lineup for Monday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. Todd Reirden confirmed afterward that Boyd will be sent to Hershey. Because he was on the NHL roster for fewer than 30 days and 10 games, he does not have to go through waivers to be sent back to the AHL.

Tyler Lewington did have to pass through waivers and cleared Monday after being placed on Sunday. He was reassigned to Hershey as well.

While these moves were necessary for the team to get cap compliant, it also leaves the Caps in a bind. With Carl Hagelin still day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Washington now has no healthy spares on the roster.

None.

Zip.

Nada.

The Caps roster has just six defensemen and 12 healthy forwards, excluding Hagelin.

Have you ever gone to work feeling fine and had to leave before the end of the day because you suddenly got sick? If that happens to the Caps, or if someone twists an ankle walking to the rink or suffers some other sort of freak illness or injury, then Washington will be playing the Coyotes down a man on Monday.

This is not ideal, but the cap situation is what it is. For now, the Caps probably can get away with it until the end of the month. Once Hagelin returns it gives the team an extra forward. Of greater concern is the defense, but with the only road cames coming in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, easily drivable from Hershey, so long as there are no unforeseen injuries right before a game it should not hurt the team. On Nov. 30, however, the Caps travel to play the Detroit Red Wings then play three games in California. They have to have a seventh defenseman by that point.

The good news is that Lewington has a low cap hit at just $675,000, lower even than the league minimum. Perhaps the team can bank enough space by the end of the month to fit him back under the cap. If not, then general manager Brian MacLellan will have to get creative yet again and move a piece or two to fit in that seventh defenseman.

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